Tuesday 28 September 2021

Costa Rica’s Air Traffic Controllers Reach Agreement

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Costa Rica’s air traffic controllers reached an agreement on Monday after a meeting with the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) and Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT) – to address some of the complaints raised by the controllers.

From the control tower at the San Jose (Juan Santamaria) international airport. Photo Facebook

On Saturday, through a press release, the Sindicato de Controladores Profesionales en Tránsito Aéreo de Costa Rica – Union of Professional Air Traffic Controllers of Costa Rica – indicated that they would delay flights as a measure of protest against staff shortages, accumulated vacations and non-payment of overtime, among other complaints.

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However, put on hold any kind of pressure once authorities agreed to meet.

Ronald Vega, spokesperson for the union, explained that they were pleased with their deal reached with Guillermo Hoppe Pacheco, director of the DGAC and MOPT Minister Rodolfo Méndez Mata.

“They expressed concern about what was happening to us and gave us the go-ahead for the payment of overtime that was owed. In fact, to alleviate a little the situation of the lack of personnel, the payment of overtime was extended for 6 months. It is more than justified because it is a matter of national interest,” Vega said.

What else was agreed?

  • The MOPT and DGAC confirmed that they will add 29 air traffic controllers at the Daniel Oduber international airport (LIR) in Liberia, Guanacaste,  where it is intended to extend the airport operations to 24 hours a day by 2020 or 2021.
  • There air traffic controllers will be paid the accumulated 1,500 days of owed vacation for control tower officials.
  • Reassignments were resolved, as there were controllers performing more complex functions than for what they were hired. This will be resolved within a period of 1 month.

“There was respect and cordiality. They (authorities) understood the technical part. We have a working condition that is not good for security purposes. The agreement is very satisfactory and the ministry was happy because we postponed the pressure movement for them to resolve and they did it in record time,” said the union member.

The DGAC noted that even before the Monday meeting they had already sent a request to Casa Presidencial (executive) to add between 30 and 40 new air traffic controllers.

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