FAQ – Operational/People Transition plan

The ATMS Programme Team designed a transition plan to manage the need to staff the new Combined Surveillance Centre (CSC) and allow existing Air Traffic Control Officers (ATCOs) to obtain additional licence endorsements whilst at the same time maintaining current operations. The plan is a mature draft and may be subject to change as the programme moves forward. Any changes to the plan will be communicated to all colleagues, in a timely manner.

A summary of this Transition Plan is shown below:

Narrative for Transition Graphic:

Initial Contingency/Training Centre

• The training facility will be in place to support the training needs of the programme.
• The contingency centre will be operational in line with the first transition and will be scaled-up as further units transition into the CSC.

Sumburgh Radar

• Recruitment campaign to enable transition from third party provision to in-house, and the first transition to the CSC.
• Radar will be established in temporary facility before transitioning to CSC Operations Room.

Benbecula

• This is the earliest possible date for a change in the level of Air Traffic Service (ATS) at Benbecula. It will allow us time to consult with our staff, trade unions and stakeholders on the change in service level from Air Traffic Control (ATC) unit to Aerodrome Flight Information Service Officer (AFISO) unit, and ascertain the most appropriate date to make the transition within the wider ATMS programme.
• ATCOs at Benbecula will have the opportunity to embark on Radar Approach Control (APS) training course and relocate to Inverness.
• Part-time Flight Information Service Officers (FISOs) at Benbecula will be unaffected.

Inverness Radar

• First transition from current operations into the live CSC Operations (Ops) room will result in a change of workplace for approximately 50% of staff who then embark upon CSC equipment and unit training and join the CSC operational team.

Inverness Tower

• Second transition from current operations into the CSC Ops room will complete the change of workplace for Inverness based staff and allow remaining staff to embark upon CSC equipment and unit training and join the CSC operational team.

Sumburgh Radar

• Third transition into the CSC Operations room.
• Will transition from temporary location in CSC/Contingency Centre (CC).
• With two airports operational this will allow the multi-unit endorsement training programme to begin

Wick John O’Groats/Kirkwall radar

• Fourth transition will see the new position, termed ‘Pentland Radar’ created in the CSC Ops room.
• The joint radar position is being created due to the close proximity of both aerodromes and the integrated nature of the airspace. This will allow the efficient management of approach services to both units.
• This will provide approach services to both Kirkwall and Wick John O’Groats. Tower services will remain at both units at this time.

Wick John O’Groats

• This date will allow us time to consult with our staff, trade unions and stakeholders on the change in Service level from ATC unit to AFISO unit, and ascertain the most appropriate date to make the transition within the wider ATMS programme.
• ATCOs at Wick JOG will have the opportunity to embark on APS training course and relocate to Inverness.
• Part-time FISOs at Wick JOG will be unaffected.

Sumburgh Tower

• Fifth transition into the CSC Ops room.
• ATCOs at Sumburgh will have the option to embark on APS training course and relocate to Inverness.
• Air Traffic Service Officer Assistants (ATSOAs) at Sumburgh will have the option to relocate and join the operational team at the CSC.
• The FISO service will not be required. However, we recognise the importance of the role as we move towards this transition. We will explore options with our FISO colleagues to recognise the valuable contribution and commitment to providing this service.

Kirkwall Tower

• Sixth transition into the CSC Ops room.
• ATCOs at Kirkwall will have the option to embark on APS training course and relocate to Inverness.
• ATSOAs at Kirkwall will have the option to relocate and join the operational team at the CSC.
• The FISO service will not be required. However, we recognise the importance of the role as we move towards this transition. We will explore options with our FISO colleagues to recognise the valuable contribution and commitment to providing this service.

Stornoway Radar and Tower

• Seventh transition into the CSC Ops room.
• ATCOs at Stornoway will have the option to embark on APS training course and relocate to Inverness.
• ATSOAs at Stornoway will have the option to relocate and join the operational team at the CSC.
• The FISO service will not be required. However, we recognise the importance of the role as we move towards this transition. We will explore options with our FISO colleagues to recognise the valuable contribution and commitment to providing this service.

Dundee Radar

• Eighth transition will be a new position created in the CSC Ops room.
• Will provide approach services to Dundee. Tower services will remain on unit at this time.

Dundee Tower

• Ninth transition into the CSC Ops room
• ATCOs at Dundee will have the option to embark on APS training course and relocate to Inverness.
• ATSAs at Dundee will have the option to relocate and join the operational team at the CSC.

 

Q.  Is the ATMS programme linked to cost savings/staff cuts?

A.  No. HIAL’s overriding priority is, and always will be, to deliver safe and secure air services that serve our local communities. HIAL requires a solution that will ease the issues of staff recruitment, retention and provide resilience at our airports. We have not budgeted for any staff savings.

 Q. Why not deploy Surveillance positions at each unit and avoid centralisation?

A.  While dispersed surveillance positions will allow us to mitigate existing operational risk, it will not address the current resilience risk. Each unit will continue to require dedicated staff who will be unable to support other operations.

Additionally, this would drive an overall increase in staff numbers, with resultant recruitment challenges and additional cost of both surveillance equipment and staffing to the organisation.

Q. Why has HIAL gone for the most expensive and risky option?

A.  The chosen option was not the most expensive option.   Whilst the most complex and challenging, it was the only option from the Helios study that offers long-term solutions in terms of resilience and flexibility, both during normal and out-of-hours operations.

It also provides a long term solution to the issue of recruitment and retention of air traffic staff.  The combination of controlled airspace, centralised surveillance and the technology employed in remote towers will significantly modernise HIAL’s air traffic management and most importantly, improve safety.

This option will allow HIAL to deliver sustainable aviation services well into the future and the costs associated with the introduction of the ATMS programme will be recovered by significant savings in the long term.

Q.  Is the decision to integrate air traffic control in Inverness at odds with the aims of the Government’s new Islands Bill?

A.  HIAL’s approach has been to prioritise air navigation service delivery in the future for all the communities we serve to ensure that vital lifeline links can be protected in the long-term. This is a concerted move to future-proof air links for our island communities.

However, we are in the process of developing an island and community impact assessment in line with the information we have to date on the requirements of the act, which has yet to be published in full. As more guidance emerges, we will review our approach.

We will circulate our impact assessments and engage with our key stakeholders as we work through the assessment process.

Q.  When will the equipment for the CSC be procured?

A.  The Periodic Indicative Notice (PIN) for the solution procurement was published and responses received throughout last summer. Based, in part, on supplier responses the ATMS team has been working together with staff to define the solution requirements.

Due to the General Election and the timing of the planned budget announcement in March, we are anticipating publication of the Tender pack in April.  There will then follow an extended supplier selection and analysis process, aiming to conclude by January 21.

Q.  Do you have a technical specification for the equipment to ensure it will work in the harsh weather conditions in a number of locations?

A.  HIAL’s procurement specification will include a minimum operating standard for all equipment. This specification will require a solution that will deal with the geographical and meteorological conditions that currently prevail at each of our airports.

As part of the tender bid, suppliers will determine the best technical solution and detail the equipment that will meet, and exceed our requirements.

Q.  Is the technology/infrastructure around the identified airports reliable enough to cope with a new system?

A.  HIAL’s overriding priority is the delivery of safe and secure air services. The project team will ensure the technology and the infrastructure required will be in place to support the new navigation systems.

Network connectivity is critical to the success of the programme and work to investigate the existing network infrastructure affecting our airport sites has been completed. The investigation highlighted the improving position of network infrastructure throughout the Highlands and Islands due in part to the ‘Connected Communities Initiative’.

The proposed air traffic management solution will exceed HIAL’s safety obligations and will be approved by the Regulator prior to delivery into service.

 Q. Who will initially staff the CSC?

A.  In order to deliver the programme within the timescale, we are currently running an external recruitment campaign to attract qualified APS ATCOs to supplement our existing ATCO complement. Existing staff, with this qualification, who wish to join the programme earlier than their transition date can apply through this route.

We will extend our campaign for other roles as required.

Q.  Will the CSC run in tandem with the existing operation?

A.  The operation in the CSC will be fully tested and receive regulatory approval prior to each transition in the programme.

 Q.  How will staff air traffic staff be supported?

A.  We will work closely with our staff and develop a detailed ‘people transition plan’ that will include transition timings and details of the support that will be offered. This plan will be discussed with the Trade Union to ensure it is as comprehensive as possible. We will commit to give individuals at least six months’ formal notice of transfer dates.

We will ensure that any changes to the timings contained within the ‘people transition plan’ are communicated as soon as possible.

Q.  What relocation package will ATS staff be offered?

A.  The company has a relocation policy in place which details the minimum package available to all HIAL staff. There are times when specific projects demand enhanced terms to that currently available and the ATMS project meets this criteria.

Working with a relocation specialist, HIAL will develop a bespoke package to meet the project needs. This will be discussed with the trade unions prior to seeking approval from the HIAL Board and Scottish Government.

 Q.  Will there be a Voluntary Severance Package or Early Retirement Package for ATS staff?

A.  HIAL is bound by the UK Government Framework. The current package on offer from HIAL is determined by age and length of service. This is currently set at a maximum of 21 months’ pay or the UK Government cap of £95K, whichever is less.

Q.  What support will the organisation provide for colleagues who choose not to join the programme?

A.  We will endeavour to accommodate all staff to join the programme, but recognise this may not be possible for some. We will explore all avenues for those who choose not to join the programme. We plan to engage with outplacement specialists to tailor individual support packages to help staff make the right choice for them.

Q. Can staff commute to Inverness for a period prior to permanently relocating?

A. We are exploring options to allow ATC staff to retain their existing base and commute to the Combined Surveillance Centre (CSC) in Inverness.   We are examining roster patterns for the CSC to accommodate such working.

FISO Q&As (Kirkwall, Sumburgh and Stornoway)

Q. When will the part-time FISO role end?

A.  It is anticipated that the role will remain for a short time following the transition of the tower to the CSC.

The role will not be required once the tower is decommissioned. Pay and allowance protection arrangements are set out in the Company ‘Organisational Change Policy’.

However, we recognise the importance of the role as we move towards this transition. We will explore options to recognise the valuable contribution and commitment to providing this service.

We will look at different options with trade unions as we move forward.

Q.  How much formal notice will I be given?

A.  We will develop a detailed ‘people transition plan’ that will include transition timings and details of the support that will be offered. This plan will be discussed with Trade Unions to ensure it is and comprehensive as possible. We will commit to give individuals at least six months’ notice of the change to your role.

We will ensure that any changes to the timings contained within the ‘people transition plan’ are communicated as soon as possible.