The conversion of military air traffic controller licences or certificates of competence into civil student civil air traffic controller licences is a topic which has been gaining momentum and attention in the last 12-18 months. It could help address the shortage of civil air traffic controllers and make a career into military air traffic control even more appealing. It remains to be seen what long term effects this pandemic will have on our industry but, in the meantime, conversations on military to civil licence conversion continue.

GATCO, representing both civil and military air traffic controllers, is in a unique position to advise on those matters, feeding from the wealth of knowledge and expertise of its members. At the request of our membership, GATCO brought the topic to the attention of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (IFATCA) at its 2019 annual conference. As a result, the Professional and Legal Committee (PLC) of IFATCA selected our topic as one of the work packages for the year. Adam Exley, our Manager Technical and Operations, has been working on the topic for the last 12 months, liaising with PLC and submitting a working paper to the 2020 IFATCA annual conference. Unfortunately, the current pandemic caused the cancellation of the conference, postponing the presentation and discussion of the paper. Given the timeliness of Adam’s work, GATCO obtained the permission of IFATCA to make that working paper public in its current state.

You can read Adam’s contribution to the work of PLC here.

This working paper will also be used as GATCO and IFATCA’s input to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Rule Making Task 0668 (RMT.0668): regular update of the air traffic controller licencing rules. RMT.0668 includes, as one of its working areas, the conversion of national military air traffic controller licences into student air traffic controller licences issued in accordance with Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/340. You can find out more about that work and the timescales of this rule making process here.