EASA publishes NPA on next generation ATCO training for comments

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has published proposals for increased harmonisation in training for Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs) in Europe, which is expected to enable greater flexibility in usage of ATCO resources as well as the increased availability of skilled ATCO staff. 

Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) 2023-02 sets performance standards for the initial training output of the next generation of ATCOs based on the principles of competency-based training and assessment (CBTA), enabling the virtualisation of training and the acceptance of third-country ATCO licences.

This regulatory delivery completes RMT.0668 on ATCO licensing which was initiated in 2017.

The proposal combines the results of the work undertaken under Subtasks 3 and 4 of RMT.0668 with the aim of:

  • harmonising the initial training output to handle complex and dense traffic situations, and enhancing the regulatory framework for instructors and assessors by setting the required performance standards using the principles of the CBTA, which is also the ICAO preferred route to licensing of all aviation personnel; 
  • making distance learning and the use of new digital instruction means possible in a harmonised manner following the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • facilitating the acceptance of third-county ATCO licences, taking account of prior training and operational experience.

These proposed amendments are expected to create a less fragmented qualification system and thus enable the application of more harmonised European training standards; they are, in addition, expected to make additional ATCO resources available.

EASA considers that this is an important step towards allowing for more flexibility in the use of the available ATCO resources.
The proposals are open for public comment until August 2, 2023.