Belgocontrol and skyguide join forces in supporting air traffic controllers after incidents

This morning Belgocontrol and the Swiss ANSP skyguide signed a cooperation agreement on the support of air traffic controllers after incidents. By exchanging experiences, both companies want to further develop that assistance and where necessary even support each other after such incidents.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Air traffic incidents can have a heavy impact on air traffic controllers. With their job comes great responsibility and a lot of stress. The mental burden after an incident can be hard to bear. That is why Belgocontrol offers CISM: Critical Incident Stress Management. It is also widely used in other rescue services, such as police and fire departments, where staff is faced with exceptional situations.

CISM offers support to air traffic controllers after an incident so as to help them process it and to accompany them to go back to work again as soon as possible. That support is provided in the first place by colleague air traffic controllers who are especially trained for that and who know first-hand what it is like to be in that situation. Secondly, support can be provided by external experts.

Belgocontrol and skyguide agreed to exchange experiences concerning CISM. After an incident the party involved can report on how the air traffic controllers lived the incident, on which approach they followed in the context of CISM and on the results of that approach. They can also turn to each other for help if they feel they are not able to provide the necessary assistance in their own CISM team because they are too deeply involved. Another possibility is to organize consultations between the air traffic controllers who are the designated persons responsible for CISM.

Johan Decuyper, Belgocontrol CEO: “We wish to offer maximum support to our air traffic controllers during the most difficult times in their career. Our primary concern in such situations is their well-being. By offering the necessary assistance we want to help them to resume their job as quickly as possible. Moreover, in that way we also guarantee optimum safety of air traffic by only putting air traffic controllers to work who are physically and mentally able to do their job. The collaboration with skyguide can possibly provide us with new insights on the matter.”