October 19, 2021

Cayman Islands Air Traffic Controllers recruitment

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Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (19 February 2019) The Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA) would like to provide a statement on the subject of Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) recruitment.

The CIAA has been actively recruiting Caymanians to fill the role of Air Traffic Controllers on a continuous basis for many years, specifically:

(All candidates mentioned below are Caymanians)

Fiscal Year 2014:

In Quarter 2 of 2014, two ATC candidates were seconded to overseas training in Trinidad & Tobago, and were both successful in theoretical and practical on the job training, and were validated for regular duty in the ORIA ATC unit in Quarter 4 of 2016.

Fiscal Year 2015:

In Quarter 1 of 2015, two local Air Traffic Control Assistants attended overseas training in Trinidad & Tobago, and were successful in both theoretical and practical on the job training, and were validated for regular duty in the Charles Kirkconnell Internal Airport (CKIA) ATC unit in Quarter 4 of 2016.

With their success, the CIAA transferred two existing Cayman Brac ATCOs from CKIA to ORIA to complement that unit, in an attempt to meet the stringent regulatory requirement for minimum staffing levels in accordance with UK CAA CAP 670 Part D (enclosed). Unfortunately, only one of those transferred officers was successful in obtaining an ORIA unit competency.

Fiscal Year 2016:

In 2016, additional recruitment drives resulted in the hiring of two new recruits for the CKIA ATC unit, one of which was seconded to overseas training in Trinidad in Quarter 1 2018, as there is a requirement for nine months AB initio (pre-qualification) training prior to departure. This candidate is currently undergoing on the job training in ORIA.

Fiscal Year 2017:

Another recruitment drive through Cayman Media houses, CIAA social media & local educational facilities resulted in one successful candidate being hired, and subsequently being seconded to training overseas in Trinidad. This candidate was not successful.

Fiscal Year 2018:

Local recruitment in Quarter 4 2017/Quarter 1 2018 yielded 33 applicants, 13 candidates were not Caymanian, and therefore not considered. The remaining 20 were Caymanians.

Two of the 20 applicants met all conditions stated in the advertisement However, a total of 16 were selected for pre-employment testing. Of the 16, three achieved the required pass mark of 80% on the ATC aptitude test.

Out of a desire to maximise the opportunity afforded to Caymanians, a second evaluation, focusing on personality traits was administered. This effort resulted in five candidates being eligible.

Four persons were interviewed and subsequently offered positions as ATC Trainees. The fifth candidate, withdrew their application prior to the interview process in favour of another open position within the CIAA.

These four candidates commenced their local AB initio training on 1 February 2019 in preparation for overseas training.

At present, four candidates are at an advanced stage of the selection process in Cayman Brac.

Another group of 14 local applicants for ATCO trainees is currently being vetted for ORIA.

Contributing to the current shortage of qualified & competent Caymanian ATCOs, is the success of a number of them, who were promoted to various supervisory and managerial positions within the CIAA. Three others have left the service to pursue other related career paths.

Additionally, the CIAA implemented new procedures to separate the duties of Aerodrome & Approach control service, as per industry standards, enabling the facility to operate with a higher degree of safety and efficiency. This procedure directly resulted in the need to essentially double the existing number of qualified ATCOs.

ATCO shortages is an acute global phenomena, affecting developed and under-developed nations equally.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-45057103

https://www.iol.co.za/travel/travel-news/world-running-out-of-air-traffic-controllers-2015207

The best case planning scenario for the qualification and validation of an ATCO is 24 months, with the average being 28 months over the past five years, broken down as follows:

CIAA on boarding & familiarization: 3 months

AB Initio training (local to the Cayman Islands): 9 months

Overseas Training Secondment: 7 months

On-the-Job-Training: 9 months (average, but not less than 6 months)

The offer of a two year contract is based on the expectation that after two years local candidates will be at an advanced stage of qualification and will subsequently be able to fulfil the obligations of the post. It is neither advantageous nor prudent to pay for contracted services, whenever local candidates are available. The CIAA has evidenced our commitment to recruiting and training our local population by its current employee head-count of 196 employees, with exactly one Work-Permit holder.

Both The CIAA and The Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands have identified an immediate need for additional officers and in response to these regulatory requirements, the CIAA is pursuing the short term (two year) mitigation by employing experienced ATCOs through contracted services, to whom it will have no long term commitments.

Caption: Four new local Air Traffic Control Trainees during orientation at the ORIA Control Tower. The Supervisor Robert Boggess and Human Resources Coordinator (temp) Capt. Peter Schmid.

UK CAP 670 Regulation Excerpt

The number of operational positions, period of operation and limitation of duty hours dictate the minimum number of validated controllers required at a unit.

D2 The CAA must be satisfied that the unit maintains sufficient qualified controllers to provide safe air traffic control services. Consideration will be given to the regularity of the Air Traffic Control Service in determining whether a service is safe. There must be no possibility that users will be confused as to which service they are receiving because the type of service changes from day to day or hour to hour. Careful consideration will also be given to the provision of more than one service simultaneously before approving a unit.

D3 Although conditions at different units may vary an approximation for the calculation of the minimum number of controllers required is given using the following formula: Total number of valid controllers, C = ND 365 – R rounded up to whole number

Where:
‘N’ equals the number of controllers required to attend for duties, including a relief to give breaks, each day. This will depend on the number of operational positions and the period for which they are scheduled to open.
‘D’ equals the number of days the unit provides services in a year.
‘R’ equals the number of days a controller is not available for duty, i.e. rest days, annual leave, public holidays in lieu, allowance for sickness and training etc.

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