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French ATC agreement allowing ATC to turn up late, and the meaning for slots?

Came across this, didn’t see it discussed yet?

French AtC granted right to turn up 3h late

Seems it was common practice before when traffic light (or expected to be light) for some controller to cone late as not much to do

It seems related to this accident
Where one controller turned up late and the BeA blamed the informal practice of coming late so they wanted to formalise it?

I wonder if this will mean more slots and they will want to be sure how many plane will be any given time to know whether people can show up late?

I am writing this as I sit on the ground in a BA flight from france to uk where the pilot just told us he got a 1h slot delay due atc staff shortage, but he said he sent a « ready » message which mean we maybe released early… been there done that, except I could depart vfr, they can’t :)

Last Edited by roznet at 12 May 19:05
EGTF, United Kingdom

@roznet did you write that or did Chat thingy?
BTW the incident you refer to had nothing to do with ATC staff turning up late.
It did highlight that changes in staffing during off peak times had to be made so as to allow a supervisor to just supervise rather than helping out in other areas of control. This being especially the case when a less experienced controller is at the helm.
BA are always blaming ATC, everywhere, for slot delays. It’s funny how RyanAir and Easyjet get very few. Perhaps because they are more time conscious.

Last Edited by gallois at 13 May 06:35

gallois wrote:

BTW the incident you refer to had nothing to do with ATC staff turning up late.

I have to disagree with you. Or maybe to take you literally, indeed it has nothing to do with them turning up late, it has to do with them not turning up at all.
The BEA report explain how there is an official planning and an actual planning, how the management is aware of it and say nothing to “buy social peace”

Nympsfield, United Kingdom

It was pointing out that the staff had not been scheduled to come in as has been standard practice in aviation.
The ATS management at a particular site decide which staff they need and when. It seems it has/had become common practice to not schedule any coverage in case of a sudden increase in traffic.
This is IMO down to budget cuts across the whole ATS in France and possibly an over reliance on the introduction of new technology which soaks up another big part of the budget during its introductory stages.
It was not AIUI caused by as Sky puts it ATSOs turning up when they feel like it, up to 3 hours late.
Hopefully this incident, not an accident, as reported will cause a rethink of ATS staffing.
There were also a couple of mitigating factors but IMO they should not impinge on a rethink of staff scheduling.
The problem is that posts like the OPs (no reflection on Roznet as he is reporting what he has read.or heard.) make it sound like ATSOs in France turn up when they feel like it and continue to do so until they get more money.
That is not the case. Yes they do strike, but you know when they go on strike and they are duty bound to provide a service even if limited. In fact that is the case for all public services in France.
They are not always on strike (as many pilots would have you believe.) Slots and ATC strikes are always good excuse when the flight crew turn up for work late🙂
What always strikes me is that I have rarely suffered from a slot in either IFR or VFR although I have been given a CTOT on start up..The last major ATS strike I flew AF from Nantes to CdG then CdG to Oman on Omani Air on time and similar on return.
OTOH I have had Ryanair LFBH to London Stansted cancelled because of strikes.
That does bamboozle me.


Unbelievable, but not really – example.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

OTOH I have had Ryanair LFBH to London Stansted cancelled because of strikes.
That does bamboozle me.

@gallois, it shouldn’t. During strikes long haul flights get preferential treatment, AFAIK this is a worldwide practice.

PS: side note to @Peter. Why do the formatting buttons not appear if you are using a phone (as I am now)?

Look under your Preferences and tick the mobile device editor option.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I reckon > 50% of my flights involving French airspace (mostly IFR) have been affected by some strike.

Now onto something equally serious. As an admin here, it is very obvious that the few French ATCOs who used to post here have vanished, and their disappearance has coincided with negative discussion of French ATC. I don’t know how French forums deal with this (I don’t have time to read their main one) but I used to be on one UK one 10+ years ago (behind a paywall, and eventually rather useless and – due to an admin with a vindictive agenda – nasty at times) where this discussion was discouraged, to avoid a “them and us attitude”. Well, we don’t want a “them and us attitude” here either, but how is one to avoid that when this sort of thing goes on? The problem with all the “enforcement” professions (police, military, ATC, etc) is that they all close ranks so tight that you could not slide a 0.001" feeler gauge between them. So they all just vanish from forums… especially if there is an opportunity to “punish” an international one, when the relevant country also has a domestic one

That said, France does not have a monopoly on strikes; the Swiss do it in real style too albeit a bit less often.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

The Swiss are amateurs at striking compared to the French. The only country coming anywhere near is the UK.😁


Scargill’s mistake was to be in coal mining and not ATC.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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