Guyanese Air Traffic Controllers to receive certification on ICAO day

Putting to rest concerns of local Air Traffic Control Officers (ATCOs), Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Zulficar Mohamed said that recently trained ATCOs are likely to receive certification in their field on International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) day which will be observed in December.

The Director General in a telephone interview with Guyana Aviation on Tuesday said that the Authority has already proposed that the presentations be made on ICAO day and preparations are being made for the ATCOs to receive their accreditation. “We have already made the proposal that they (ATCOs) be given their certificates in December,” Mohamed explained.

He added that the handover is expected to be done at the nation’s aviation training school which is located at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport. ATCOs had complained bitterly when the GCAA through the Ministry of Public Works announced last June that eight ATCOs had received certification in their field.

The ATCOs had refuted the information saying they were not even being paid the relevant salary due, nor were they receiving the benefits that come with the position, let alone receive certification. Mohamed told Guyana Aviation that the ATCOs will receive whatever benefit that is due to them.

Mohamed was also asked about concerns that certified ATCOs would possibly leave the job after receiving their accreditation since it is the view of some ATCOs that their certificates are not being handed over for this reason. An ATCO from the newly trained batch highlighted that there are beliefs among the recently trained staff that it is a purposeful act to withhold their documentation.

Mohamed further elaborated that while decisions concerning the ATCOs are not being made based on the possibility of them quitting the job after receiving their documents, he said that the issue is a concern for the Authority.

He related that two staffers have already left the job and it no secret that they would have probably wanted the certificate before they left.

ATCOs had complained that they were not being paid the appropriate salary. However this has been rectified, the blog was told. They had argued that they were being paid as assistants rather than ATCOs. Additionally, the workers claimed that when the training programme ended, the graduates had to wait in excess of two months to receive their licences when these were supposed to be issued within 14 days on completion of the training. They said when the course had finished toward the end of 2013, by January of the next year they were operating unsupervised and yet their status were not rectified.

Several letters were sent to Mohamed and chairman of the GCAA board Hugh Denbow, however, the ATCOs claim that they were not receiving any meaningful reply to their concerns. Except for the rectified salary, the ATCOs said everything else remains the same. They claim that to date, they are still unaware as to why they have not yet received certification some 11 months after completing their training.

The job of an ATCO is to ensure the smooth operation of air traffic within the airspace under their jurisdiction. They maintain a safe, orderly and expeditious flow of air traffic.