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The Australian Federation of Air Pilots has responded to a worrying report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) regarding an incident at Sydney International Airport.

It says it’s pleased to see Airservices Australia (AsA) is taking, and will be taking actions as a result.

Despite that, the federation says pilots are concerned about the state of air traffic control in Australia.

“There have been many similar separation incidents here and overseas that have influenced the safety culture and procedures of air navigation providers over the years,” according to AFAP Safety & Technical Manager Captain Marcus Diamond.

“This is one of the reasons the deficiencies at Airservices Australia are so concerning,” he said. “Our safety margins, built painstakingly over decades, have been significantly eroded in Australia.”

“The Australian Federation of Air Pilots also continues to maintain that air traffic control services remain chronically understaffed,” said Captain Diamond.

“We continue to be very concerned about the resultant pressures that these air traffic service (ATS) deficiencies place on Airservices Australia’s air traffic controllers, especially during periods of high workload.”

Civil Aviation Safety Regulations state that: “An ATS provider must have, at all times, enough suitably qualified and trained personnel who are able to supervise the provision of any air traffic service that it provides”.

The separation incident involved two Boeing 737 aircraft and took place on 29 April 2023.