By John Brady, Joint Chair of FASVIG.
The CAA’s press release on targeting infringement hotspots has caused a fair amount of consternation amongst the GA community, particularly the concept that if airports fail to reduce infringements they will be rewarded with more regulated airspace. We need to know more about this and how this will work in practice so I talked to the Stu Lindsey, the Airspace Regulator to find out.
Tackling infringements has been a big problem for the CAA and a standard way to solve a big problem is to break it down into smaller ones and focus on those first. So the principle is sound. GA has always battled with ATC providers about release of data on infringements but commercial and privacy interests have been cited as reasons for not disclosing enough detail to be useful. The CAA has decided to work solely on Mandatory Occurrence Reports (MOR) which are always produced for all infringements and are in the public domain anyway. Putting this together, the concept works something like this:
Presently infringement MORs are reviewed every Tuesday by a team in the CAA. Minor infringements are discounted and a set of high risk infringements involving loss of separation or significant avoiding action are considered in some detail. That set is the baseline for identifying the 6 hotspots which are now targeted. At each hotspot it is the airport owner who is responsible for the task not the ATC unit. Their team must include the ATC unit, local GA representatives and a flight ops inspector from the CAA and the work of all 6 teams is overseen by the CAA GA unit. Each team has a target, agreed by them. to reduce high risk infringements by up to 50%. For example, one airport target is a 30% reduction from 12 to 8 infringements over a period of 12 to 18 months. Targets and times vary by airport.
Clearly, the source of all infringements is outside the regulated airspace so once the teams have decided the issues that cause them the teams must connect with GA pilots, groups and airfields to effect change. But before that, the GA community will have much to offer this process and many people will want to help. Stu said he expects the groups to be open to such support and to publish their data for the benefit of everyone. His bottom line is that he wants the airports to succeed in reducing risk through their own efforts and he is not looking to increase regulated airspace, indeed he could see it reducing in some places.
We can expect to find out more on the teams and their progress ……..