5 Questions to Conor Swords

We asked five questions to Conor Swords, Eurocontrol Maastricht.

1. What’s your daily business?

Air Traffic Control Supervisor

2. What is your impact on OTP?

I supervise the staff at a busy enroute centre, managing the sector configurations and assigning the controllers in order to optimise the flow of air traffic. I have to balance the requirements for safety with the need to get as much traffic as possible through a saturated system. Failing to achieve maximum throughput translates directly into delays for airlines

3. OTP in 10 years… what do you think? What is the future of OTP?

One of the greatest impediments to airline efficiency is ATC delays, which are mainly beyond their control and have a cumulative disruptive effect on their schedules. A short-sighted reduction in investment, largely brought about by airline lobbying, has eroded ATC infrastructure and impaired its ability to react to traffic growth. The future must involve increased staffing and genuine commitment to harmonisation and cooperation. Competition among service providers introduced by artificial and inappropriate business models is not the way forward.

4. If you have one wish… what would help you most in your daily work?

Accurate predictions – small delays (or uncalculated improvements) generated throughout the system make it surprisingly difficult to assess sector workloads.

5. Airbus or Boeing?

There are many ways of saving time, but taking shortcuts with safety is not one of them. Boeing should not have had to learn this the hard way. I’ll go for the company that demonstrates that  European cooperation can work…

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