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Human Factors in Contingency

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Category: ANS Contingency Planning ANS Contingency Planning
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‘Human factors in Contingency’ considers the physiological, cognitive and perceptual aspects of contingency planning. It includes aspects of human resource management and hence extends from the identification of cross-border licensing and training issues during contingency planning through to counselling and support in the aftermath of a crisis.


The aim of human factors support for contingency operations is to ensure that air navigation service providers (ANSPs) have well qualified staff that are able to meet critical requirements for operator and managerial intervention during all stages of the contingency lifecycle.


European Community Directive 2006/23/EC recognises the specific role that air traffic controllers (ATCOs) play in the safe provision of air traffic control. The establishment of EC competence standards which are designed to reduce fragmentation in this field, making for more efficient organisation of work in the framework of growing regional collaboration between ANSPs, is particularly relevant in the context of contingency planning. In accordance with the principle of mutual recognition (article 15 of Directive 2006/23/EC), States have to recognise the air traffic controller licenses and their associated ratings, rating endorsement and language endorsement issued by the national supervisory authority (NSA) of another European Union (EU) State as well as the accompanying medical certificate. However, when ANSPs in one state may be considering the use of alternate (external) services from another state as part of their contingency plans it is essential that they harmonise the requirements as regards qualifications and competence of ATCOs in order to safeguard internationally accepted standards. A fundamental principle that must not be overlooked is that ATCOs are qualified to exercise the privileges of the ratings only in the sectors/Units for which they are trained. It is recognised that the initial training for ATCOs involves practice in the handling of unusual/emergency situations including for degraded systems etc. It is necessary however, to distinguish this training for emergency situations and the training needed to implement short, medium and long-term service continuity contingency measures. In addition, contingency planning must also consider necessary support for staff in the aftermath of a contingency - see the Further Reading section for more details.

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Further Reading

Additional information can be obtained through:

  • Human Factors Module - Critical Incident Stress Management - HUM.ET.ST13.30000-REP-01 released on 31 December 1997.
  • Critical Incident Stress Management User Implementation Guidelines released on 6 December 2005.