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Airservices Australia is an Australian Government owned corporation, responsible for providing safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible services to the aviation industry within the Australian Flight Information Region (FIR). Some of Airservices responsibilities include air traffic control, airways navigation and communication facilities, publishing aeronautical data and airport rescue and fire-fighting services. Airservices Australia has international partnerships with ICAO, CANSO and IATA.
|Formed||6 July 1995|
|Jurisdiction||Civil Aviation Act 1988, Air Services Act 1995, Airspace Act 2007|
|Headquarters||Alan Woods Building, 25 Constitution Avenue, Canberra, ACT, Australia|
|Employees||4468 (June 2016)|
|Annual budget||$898 million (income, FY2012)|
Airservices Australia manages air traffic within Australian airspace. This includes the airspace over continental Australia, territorial waters and also international airspace boundaries over the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Airservices Australia also manages upper-level airspace (above 24,500 ft) under contract to the neighbouring Pacific Island Flight Information Regions of the Solomon Islands and Nauru.
Airservices Australia publishes aeronautical data, maintains telecommunications infrastructure, radio navigation aids, updates flight procedures and provides emergency services, including the Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting services at 26 of Australia's busiest airports.
The agency is fully funded by direct charges to the aviation industry and controlled by a board of directors, accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, The Honourable Darren Chester MP. The chair of Airservices Australia Board is Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Ret'd). The chief executive officer is Jason Harfield. The agency maintains more than 4,000 skilled aviation professionals, including air traffic controllers, engineering specialists, technicians and support staff working from two major control centres, 29 air traffic control towers and fire fighting stations at 26 of Australia's busiest airports.
Air Traffic Control operationsEdit
Airservices Australia has 29 air traffic control towers and two air traffic control centres based in Brisbane and Melbourne. Australia has two Flight Information Regions which are managed by these centres. All airspace to the north of the dividing boundary (YBBB) is controlled by Brisbane Centre and all airspace to the south of the boundary (YMMM) is controlled by Melbourne Centre. These centres cover the whole of Australia except for the Terminal Control Units and towers at major cities. In addition, Melbourne Centre is responsible for managing traffic handovers from South Africa, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Indonesia and New Zealand. Brisbane Centre manages traffic handovers from neighbouring flight information regions including East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and United States.
En route controllers located in Brisbane and Melbourne are responsible for all aircraft flying at upper levels above 25 000 ft. (7620 metres). These controllers are responsible for the majority of air traffic over the Australian mainland and on oceanic routes within Australia's flight information region.
In 1999, the agency commenced using The Australian Advanced Air Traffic System (TAAATS), a computerised air traffic control system covering all sectors of Australian air space.
In 2013, Airservices was ranked among the world's best as part of an international safety benchmarking study undertaken by the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO). The study placed Airservices in second place for air navigation service providers (ANSP) in relation to the maturity of the organisation's Safety Management System, with a score of more than 90 per cent effectiveness.
The Civil Aviation Branch of the Department of Defence was established on 28 March 1921, after Parliament passed the Air Navigation Act 1920 in December 1920. The organisation was reformed as a separate Government Department, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), on 14 November 1938 after the enquiry into the crash of the DC-2 aircraft Kyeemah in 1938. Arthur Corbett was appointed director-general of Civil Aviation in April 1939, serving until his retirement in August 1944. From June 1946 to December 1955 the director-general was Richard Williams, formerly RAAF Chief of the Air Staff. Donald Anderson held the position of director-general from January 1956 until September 1973.
On 30 November 1973 the DCA merged with the Department of Shipping and Transport and became the Department of Transport, Air Transport Group. This group was again reformed as its own Department on 7 May 1982, the Department of Aviation (DOA). Another merger took place on 24 July 1987 when the DOA was absorbed by the Department of Transport and Communications. On 1 July 1988 the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was formed to control aviation safety regulation and provide air traffic services.
Split – 1995Edit
The CAA was split into two separate government organisations in July 1995: Airservices Australia and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). Airservices Australia took responsibility for airspace management, aeronautical information, communications, radio navigation aids, airport rescue fire fighting services, and aviation search and rescue, while CASA assumed control of safety regulations, licensing of pilots and aviation engineers, and certification of aircraft and operators. The role of aviation search and rescue was transferred from Airservices Australia to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in 1997.
Since 2015, Thales Australia has been contracted to provide a replacement for TAAATS. The program will be a joint civil-military air traffic management system, called OneSKY, based on the Thales TopSky system.
Industrial and Legal ActionsEdit
2009 ATC Industrial DisputeEdit
Airservices Australia entered negotiations with the Air Traffic Control union Civil Air in early 2008 to form a new collective agreement. As negotiations continued, ATC staff shortages were said to contribute to what was the worst year on record for flight delays and cancellations, but had been earlier defended by Airservices CEO Greg Russell as having been caused by a group of "renegade air traffic controllers" who had been responsible for airspace closures in a form of covert industrial action.
Despite claims by the union that the problem was caused by a shortage of controllers, the figures provided by Airservices show the average number of controllers has not changed significantly over the previous three years.
Complaints by airline Virgin Blue culminated in a demand for $500,000 compensation in October 2008. An attempt by Airservices to define obligatory reasonable overtime for its controllers failed in the AIRC in late December 2008.
Remaining differences in position regarding wages and sick leave resulted in threatened industrial action by late January 2009. High-level intervention of CEO Greg Russell and ACTU President Sharan Burrow in the negotiations produced an offer which averted industrial action and was endorsed almost unanimously by the Air Traffic Controllers.
The collective agreement negotiation saw 83 per cent of staff register their vote, with 95 per cent voting for the agreement. The new agreement led to a pay increase of 4.3 per cent per annum over 3.5 years with changes to sick leave and rostering arrangements.
As of September 2009, Air Traffic Control staffing problems continued to disrupt the ability of Airservices Australia to provide its core function, precipitating an unprecedented cancellation of leave for the entire Sydney approach control unit for three months.
In its 2010–13 Workforce Plan, Airservices claimed that as of December 2009 the required number of operational ATC staff were available, reflecting the impact of a significant increase in recruitment and training throughout 2008–09. Airservices further plans to recruit close to 100 ATC trainees annually to 2013 to offset the impact of retirements and resignations.
In 2013, an independent review of air traffic controller numbers at Airservices by air navigation services provider, NAV CANADA, confirmed that the organisation had the appropriate number of operational air traffic controllers to meet its requirements.
2010 Alleged Sexual Harassment and Bullying Court ActionEdit
On 28 July 2010 a Federal Court action was brought against Airservices Australia by two air traffic controllers employed by the agency for alleged bullying and sexual harassment within the workplace.
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