Civil Air, the air traffic controller union, says there will be no industrial action during the holiday season.

This might not eliminate problems however, as the statement points to the chronic shortage of controllers, whether union members or not, which has caused air traffic control disruption all year.

The union’s tactic is to leave the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese, with no alternative but to conclude that the management of AirServices Australia has not really managed the human resources part of its responsibilities with distinction, which is something the airlines have already told him.

The other unpalatable truth in this shambles is that it is seriously unsafe, contrary to the advice from AirServices and CASA, for the pilots of jet airlines to ‘self separate’ without ever knowing with certainty the position of other aircraft in their vicinity, or whether they are even listening on the correct frequency, or have been rendered invisible because of the absurdity of Australia allowing small turbo-prop airliners and freighters to operate without having TCAS collision avoidance systems fitted, as required in the rest of the world.

Perhaps the Minister will review the quality of advice he has been given by the incompetent bureaucracy that his government has chosen to leave untouched in aviation matters, and get a briefing or two from the chief pilots and top management of Qantas and Virgin Blue and Tiger as to why the current situation is intolerable, and unrelated to any official or unofficial union action.

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