The international and European unions of air traffic controllers issued a joint announcement on Tuesday criticising the working conditions of their colleagues in Cyprus.
It follows the collapse of the ceiling in Nicosia Flight Control Centre last week and the injury of an operator.
The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA) and the Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) said they have been criticising the working conditions in Cyprus “for more than 10 years.”
In their opinion the current situation in Cyprus “is the result of years of mismanagement and underinvestment.”
They said that the “Cypriot Air Navigation Service Provider is understaffed,” and that its employees “work with antiquated equipment, from the third floor of an abandoned office building with very little space.
“Furthermore, the operational environment is characterised by many different political interests, e.g. the lack of communication between Ankara and Nicosia, making it difficult to maintain a safe an orderly flow of traffic.”
The organisations expressed their sympathy to their injured colleague and Department of Civil Aviation in Cyprus. They said that the accident “will increase pressure on the work force, reduce morale and will create further delay and safety concerns in the area.”
However, “unfortunately, in some cases it takes an accident to show decision-makers that action is needed,” they said and urged the European Commission, Eurocontrol, Airlines, the Cypriot government and the DCA Cyprus to invest in “significantly improving” the working conditions of their Cypriot colleagues.
They also suggested that the European Commission suspends the performance scheme for Cyprus and engage in negotiations with the Cypriot authorities to develop a sufficiently funded national performance plan.
On June 13, a Nicosia Flight Control Centre operator was transferred to hospital with injuries to his head and hands after the ceiling of the centre collapsed.
Air traffic controllers have been expressing concerns about the safety of the Nicosia Flight Control Centre building for years.
Press Release: ATCEUC and IFATCA criticize the working conditions of the ATCOs in Cyprus after the collapse of the ceiling of Nicosia ACC (13th of June 2019) which injured an ATCO pic.twitter.com/Q0wmYnqWIk
— ATCEUC (@ATCEUC) June 18, 2019