Agreement to Negotiate Australian Air Traffic Control Dispute Reached

Airservices Australia today sought the Australian Industrial Relations Commission`s assistance in reaching a genuine agreement with unions involved in the current certified agreement dispute.

All five unions involved and Airservices Australia have agreed that the Commission facilitate extensive negotiations over the next two weeks during which the unions have agreed no further industrial action will be taken.

Airservices Australia remains hopeful that this process will lead to a successful and constructive outcome for the organisation, its staff and unions.

Today`s actions, which have inconvenienced our customers and the travelling public, could have been avoided if unions had agreed to using the Commission to facilitate the process yesterday.

Operations have returned to normal with air traffic controllers returning to work and transition from contingency arrangements now completed.


However, a significant backlog has resulted from today`s strike action and it will be well into tonight before a return to normal schedules.

During the contingency plan, 125 high capacity aircraft, 4 medical and some military aircraft movements were accommodated.

Five events (please note events, not incidents) involving single aircraft who were reported in restricted airspace without clearance will be forwarded to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau for them to determine if these events are indeed incidents, requiring further investigation. None of these events involved another aircraft. The National Airspace Contingency Coordinating Committee achieved their task of providing restricted service provision to limit, as far as practicable, the total impact of today`s strike on the travelling public.

In order for recommenced negotiations to start unfettered, Airservices Australia will not make any media comment on the progress of these negotiations over the two week period.

For further information: Richard Dudley (0412 146 828/6268 4479)
Date: 21 March 2002

Airservices Australia is a Government owned organisation responsible for the safe and efficient management of air traffic across 11 per cent of the world`s air space. Services include air traffic control, airspace management, aeronautical information, radar communications, radio navigation aids, aviation maintenance and engineering, environmental management and aviation rescue and firefighting. Airservices website: