Making GATCO Policy

GATCO is widely involved in many UK and international activities and discussion groups that influence air traffic management. The activities fall under two groups, one called technical and operations and the other professional and legal. These groups reflect the structure of the International Federation of Air Traffic Control Associations (IFATCA).

The policy teams produce papers which are developed following consultation with the membership. The papers are then presented to national or international bodies so bring many controllers’ views or concerns to the attention of influential bodies, key individuals and regulatory agencies. The views of the Guild are increasingly sought by national and international ATM policy makers.

The process by which policy if formulated takes place throughout the year, generally in response to national/international proposals, consultations or requests. The GATCO membership is encouraged to participate as much as possible and the latest consultation can be found here


Technical and Operations

The GATCO policy team regularly discusses issues relating to airspace, air traffic operations, formulation of new procedures and facilities and equipment. Such issues include airspace classification and other operational issue consultations including reclassification of Class F airspace, transition altitude and ATSOCAS. 

For many years the Guild has provided representatives to serve on other aviation organisation’s committees. It is through these channels that GATCO exerts influence and provides help and advice to the wider aviation community and these committees can be found here. 


Professional and Legal

Professionally, GATCO addresses medical, training, licensing and legal matters affecting the activities of civil and military air traffic controllers in the UK. It is also involved in the development of Just Culture issues. 

The Guild has been invited to participate in or provide submissions to various government inquiries and investigations including…

  • UK 30-Year Aviation Policy
  • House of Lords inquiry into European Single Sky
  • The European Harmonised ATC Licence
  • UK Government’s Transport Sub-Committee’s inquiry into NATS
  • UK Government’s Transport Sub-Committee’s inquiry into Aviation Safety
  • French Government inquiry into ATC privatisation

GATCO is also a member of the Stakeholders Council, which has responsibility for overseeing NATS.

GATCO monitors the medical aspects of controller licensing and provides guidance and advice on alcohol and drug abuse, the ATC medical examination, occupational stress matters and controller working hours.

The Scheme for The Regulation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Hours (SRATCOH) affects all licensed controllers in the UK. During the late 1980s, GATCO was asked to submit evidence on ATC controller duty hours to a Parliamentary Transport Select Committee and to provide a representative to join the CAA Committee for the Regulation of ATCO Hours. This Committee subsequently produced recommendations that were adopted by the CAA Safety Regulation Group and implemented in 1991.

ATCO selection and training are closely monitored and GATCO continues to lobby for the maintenance of the highest standards in training and instructional methods.