RAF and civil air traffic controller of 30 years, Mr Alan Siddoway, announced today that Global-ATS, a privately-owned UK-based air traffic control training academy will open in Wellington in June to help fill a shortage of qualified air traffic controllers in the Middle East and Asia.
Young New Zealanders wanting careers in air traffic control will be eligible to enrol at the academy, which will operate from the Wellington School of Business and Government (SBG) campus in the Wellington CBD. Global-ATS will draw its students from throughout the Asia Pacific region to attend training courses to the International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.
Mr Siddoway, the chief executive of Global-ATS said the UK Government saved millions of pounds when it deregulated the air traffic control industry and New Zealand and Australia are among the last outposts of the world where taxpayers foot the majority of the bill for the university level training of its air traffic control staff.
He said doctors, lawyers and accountants gained their university degrees at their own expense.
“So why do taxpayers fund the training for air traffic controllers in New Zealand and Australia. It doesn’t make sense. In the United Kingdom the air traffic control industry transitioned from a monopolistic taxpayer-funded Government department, to private multi-ownership businesses without compromising high level training and safety standards.
The Global-ATS academy is positioned to open in New Zealand with 3 staff and up to 10 air traffic control students and 70 associated safety management course participants in the first year and progressively grow over the next five years. On an International scale there is employment for up to 6000 more air traffic controllers.
“Many people associate air traffic controllers with guiding planes in and out of airports, but the job is much broader than that, and the demand is driven by the tremendous growth in the Middle East and particularly the United Arab Emirates where major new airport developments are being completed.
“International flight paths can vary depending on the wind, rotation of the earth and the magnetic field. Airlines pay an over-flight fee to each country they pass over. In return they have International Air Traffic Control guidance to ensure there is no potential for mid-air collisions or hidden dangers in routing configurations,” he said.
A critical factor for an Air Traffic controller is the need to be a fluent speaker/thinker of “Aviation English” so there is a common international spoken word, easily understood and to be able to “think” in English in an emergency.
“In a stressful emergency situation a controller must be able to think and express themselves in clear and universal Aviation English without reverting back to a first language, which could lead to disastrous results.”
Mr Siddoway said a factor in basing the new Asia Pacific Training centre in Wellington was the Kiwi accent, which is a lot less harsh that the Aussie twang.
“When students come to New Zealand it is total immersion English, as it is for our academies in the UK at Shoreham and Cheltenham. Students are able to constantly practice their speaking and thinking skills with people they meet in their daily life outside of their formal Global-ATS training,” Mr Siddoway said.
About Global –ATS Ltd worldwide
Global Aviation Training Services has its Head Office and Training Centres in the United Kingdom at Shoreham and Cheltenham. It also has campuses in Madrid and Barcelona. It trains up to 400 Air Traffic Controllers a year.
Global-ATS also trains aviation managers, airport safety staff and airport fire service managers. It conducts airport and tower audits internationally and currently runs Aviation English training in Iraq and Spain.
The New Zealand academy will open in June at the SBG Campus in central Wellington and provide International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) training courses. Global - ATS Ltd is chaired by Wellingtonian Murray Cole.