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gerremonside's Achievements


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  1. Still waiting for recompense after a cancellation on 24th May, so don't hold your breath....
  2. Not exactly tucked up in bed.... Even if the 2130 extension were met on every occasion that means a shift finish at 2130, a drive home, an unwind and hopefully a good sleep before rinse and repeat. Arriving home at 2200 from a stressful job does actually make that process quite difficult OM, it would be interesting to know if you have tried it. A finish at 2300 is considerably worse. And do you seriously want those carrying out a vital safety function working beyond the point of fatigue on a regular basis?
  3. While the staff at the airport often come in for a bashing, it's worth using last night's Gatwick flight as an example of what happens so often. If you have the capability search Flightradar 24: https://www.flightradar24.com/ for G-EZUI which operated the flight. Arrived in LGW at 1948 (33 min after it SHOULD have departed for IOM) due delays earlier in the day. It took until 2139 before it departed LGW for IOM, arriving here at 2227. The IOM teams managed to turn it round and get it airborne at 2303 (which means the airport will have closed at 2318 due to requirement to stay 15 min in case of diversion) . This will require the controllers to submit an excess of hours form to the IOM CAA because they went over the maximum 10 hour shift length. They will have felt justified in doing so provided they weren't overly fatigued and hopefully will not be reprimanded by airport management of the IOM CAA. They were however, as almost always flexible enough to get people home, and off island in return. This has become the norm, and the expectation of both the employers (Government and the private sector who employ the handlers) and the travelling public. It's worth noting that they do get paid overtime for excess hours, but at a rate less than actual normal hours (normal hour rate at weekends) . And of course the notice given to work that excess time is invariably virtually none, although with EasyJet's schedule and punctuality, the teams have come to know that it will be expected without question every night of the week.
  4. Unfortunately, it's never as easy as it appears. There are a few obstacles to what is proposed in the above and other posts on here. While it may be possible to permanently extend operational hours, it would, depending on the agreed time, require a 3 shift system rather than the 2 which is currently in operation. This would require a further 3-4 controllers in ATC to run that watch system. The current operational team is 30% below the required complement to operate normally even now with the 2 shift system. This is due to a previous freeze on recruitment when staff retired or resigned, dating back to the VAT bombshell. So to achieve a 3 shift system would, (if 3 fully qualified ATC controllers with appropriate qualifications could be recruited here and now today) take a minimum of 18 months to achieve, given joining and training time. This also assumes that the current staffing issues, which are not insignificant, could be resolved, and that there are no retirements or resignations (at least one will happen within the year). The previous airport administration did have an intention to move toward increased staffing to support such an initiative around 3-4 years ago, but unfortunately this was totally at odds with a previous reluctance to recruit, which has directly resulted in the current crisis.
  5. Quite right MMP, I have often wondered about whether it's worth a complaint to the advertising standards authority about the intended deception in that hackish ad.... Further to the comments you've made about local interaction, I'd add to that knowledge of the area; there are many intricacies of the areas surrounding Ronaldsway that are not immediately obvious which would not be appreciated by someone in a box in Liverpool or Prestwick or wherever. That's even before the problem you'd have in the event of equipment failure and a need to revert to on-site ops. Oops sorry we can't get someone over to open the tower as the airports closed! Last one on that subject - spider walks across the camera lens, no such problem looking out of a window!
  6. To correctly man the ATC unit, there should be 6 minimum used per day. Ideally to provide cover to complete required administration, training and to cover any incidents safely, there should also be a Supervisor to provide this as well. So the correct Manning would be 8 per day. Currently, due to staff shortage, the ATC unit at Ronaldsway are getting by with 5. This results in regular closures of the approach radar function, and occasional need to close the airport to allow legally enforced breaks to be taken. These are required by legislation both in the UK and under the islands own CAA legislation which is dictated by the IOM CAA policy in their document CP11.
  7. You are correct Giggleberrys. Its worth stressing that the aircraft in the story (Saturday) COULD have made it to the IOM well before the "curfew", but the airline made a decision that there was a possibility that it would not get airborne back to its home base before IOM airport closure. They therefore elected to inconvenience BOTH inbound and outbound passengers to suit their own needs. One further useful snippet is that a considerable amount of pain is currently being generated by Gatwick Airport having the runway resurfaced from 9pm over each night. This results in the Northern runway (not normally used as such) being brought into service. This results in traffic stopping temporarily at changeover and then a reduced rate for landings and take offs. As a result, in the past few weeks, even if the aircraft has arrived anything close to on time in the IOM, it has been delayed going back. This is probably why Easyjet won't take the chance of posting it from LGW to IOM in case, as Giggleberrys says, it gets stuck here.
  8. Yep, it will be the fact that ATC at IOM can't work beyond 2315 as it exceeds the legal length of shift. I can only presume as so often happens with EZY, they decided that if they ran inbound there was a risk they might not be able to depart back if they got a slot restriction ( due to the runway work at lgw). So very indirectly ATC delay....
  9. Nope. Yesterdays was due to terminal disruption at lgw, today, the aircraft still isn't anywhere close to arriving back from Nice over half an hour after it was due to depart to IOM. That said, EZY COULD operate the service LGW to IOM well before ATC run out of hours but choose not to for their convenience. Please check your facts swoopy....
  10. Easy to blame ATC, unfortunately not true. And so often ATC are blamed for restrictions, which have occurred when slot times are issued because the aircraft is running late. This is far more often due to the aircraft having been tech, uncrewed or due to handling delays. It's desperately unfair blaming the people in ATC who are trying their best to keep everything on track. It's also worth knowing that a great majority of the delays into Gatwick lately are due to runway resurfacing work on the Main runway there, resulting in the standby strip being brought into use. This requires greater safety margins, and therefore results in delays.
  11. It was reduced fire category, ironically due to injured firefighter. Interestingly the same type ATR flying for Emerald on behalf of Are Lingus was able to approach during the reduced category period.
  12. Yes, but not the tower. Only the approach control function And that's another common misunderstanding. Peaks and troughs. Although one can predict scheduled traffic, you can't always predict ad-hoc traffic, be they actual airport movements, or as is often the case with traffic worked by Ronaldsway ATC, overflying and adjacent flying traffic. So although to an extent breaks can be planned around what is known, what often happens is unkown "pop-up" traffic delays mandatory breaks. Delays to schedules, much like the minister was trying to explain in his radio interview the other night have the same effect. There comes a time therefore when with a limited resource of validated controllers, a position needs to be closed. For an outside agency (presumably on the adjacent isle) to take on the remote operation for either Tower or approach or both would need them to train 14 controllers either form scratch or from having the rating qualifications. Minimum lead in time would be 2-3 years, even if you could find those spare controllers on a shelf somewhere. And it would need 2 or 3 with the local knowledge required to teach them (that would be a regulatory requirement - assuming they approved having no contingency to open an on-site facility in case of failure/malfunction of the tower infrastructure anyway) Oh and yes it would be the RATCs problem. They would no doubt bill IOM Gov PLC accordingly, and having us by the short & curlies add an additional 50% for the privilege...
  13. Think this news is a little later... https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands-islands/3889395/prospect-union-claim-big-win-as-hial-shelves-remote-towers-project/
  14. Sadly it's not quite so easy. Even if there was the the political will or management impetus to bring in agency staff, any controller brought in who had all the necessary qualifications to control the type of traffic the Isle of Man handles, (which means aerodrome approach and approach radar qualifications) would need to validate locally to operate solo and start to ease the problem. This validation process would take an absolute minimum of six months. The big issue here is is that air traffic control qualification takes a long time. For each of the above qualifications to go from untrained to fully trained is around a year each, so around 3 years to train each fully qualified controller. When the VAT bombshell hit around 15 years ago, and government departments were asked to make savings, one of the the first things airport management did to try to do so so was enforce a policy of non replacement of staff in air traffic control when they retired or moved. So for many years there was no recruitment or replacement of ATC staff. This failed to take into account the lead in training time as stated above, and although it saved a hefty wadge of salary cash in the short term, it has had a direct effect on the crisis in staffing that is being seen today. This policy of non replacement was only reversed towards the end of the last decade, and as a result there are trainees in the system who cannot complete their validation because there simply wasn't sufficient traffic throughout the covid crisis to justify them having been adequately trained and tested. This has also been exacerbated by why some of the recruited trainees leaving post because of failure to progress. It's worth noting that the covid crisis has also masked the problem because the shortage existed pre COVID, and in fact when covid came along it was quite fortuitous as airport closures became commonplace which meant that the problem did not manifest until a full timetable was resumed recently. To summarise, it is a perfect storm, one that could have been predicted and indeed was by members of the team who raised it with management as far back as 2006. But unfortunately short-term recruitment of agency staff would no more help, than would getting through the trainees who are already in the system. The team within air traffic control hot trying as hard as possible to get the trainees through in as quick time as possible commensurate with safety. But also to be fair are the Isle of Man does have other issues to deal with the London city doesn't. Ronaldsway provides own approach control and approach radar control service. At London City these are provided by the swanwick control centre in Hampshire. Also, operating ronaldsway as a remote tower project would take many lead in years of infrastructure procurement, purchase and set up, and also significant regulatory approval. Regulatory approval has after a long time been granted for London City but if the remote facility were to fail it would be easy to quickly repopulate the on-site tower - I am sure this has been a significant condition of the approval. No such easy contingency will be available if Ronaldsway were to go to remote tower operation as presumably the controllers would by definition be across the water. Cost would not really be the barrier, satisfying the regulator that it was a safe practice would be a far greater issue. Also the issue of outsourcing of approach and radar services to another agency would be necessary.
  15. Here: https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/modalapplication.aspx?catid=1&pagetype=65&appid=11&mode=detail&id=10823
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