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Introduction to ATSAP. ATSAP stands for Air Traffic Safety Action Program A voluntary, non-punitive Air Traffic Controller safety reporting system Used to identify and proactively remove safety risks from the NAS Designed based on the fundamentals of a just culture. Just Culture.

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introduction to atsap

Introduction to ATSAP

ATSAP stands for Air Traffic Safety Action Program

A voluntary, non-punitive Air Traffic Controller safety reporting system

Used to identify and proactively remove safety risks from the NAS

Designed based on the fundamentals of a just culture

just culture
Just Culture
  • Avoids fear of retribution and blame thereby encouraging flow of safety related information
  • Promotes trust and supports learning from unsafe acts
  • It is neither blameless nor punitive, there will always be difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior
  • Promotes constructive attitude which will tend to prevent future violations
role responsibility
Role & Responsibility
  • AOV provides independent oversight and monitors ATO operations to determine compliance with standards and directives
  • ATO is responsible for the daily operation of Air Traffic Control
  • NATCA is employee union to represent the Air Traffic Controllers
what s reportable
What’s Reportable?

Controllers may file:

  • OEs/ODs/PEs/RIs/PDs
  • Any potential safety risk to the NAS such as:
    • Poor or confusing airport signage
    • Unsafe policies or procedures
    • Equipment, software or automation problems
    • Traffic management initiatives that don’t properly address sector needs
    • Aircraft operating procedures & airspace configurations
    • Human factors (fatigue, scheduling…)
    • Unsafe or inadequate training practices
who and what is covered
Who and What is Covered?
  • All air traffic personnel engaged in and supporting air traffic services, and only to events that occur while acting in that capacity
  • Events involving noncompliance as determined by the ERC

Events caused by gross negligence or reckless conduct are not accepted by ATSAP


In exchange for voluntary reporting,

  • ATO won’t decertify or take disciplinary action for events that are accepted into ATSAP
  • AOV will use lesser action or no action based on the level of noncompliance with applicable air traffic directives
report types
Report Types
  • Safety Problem: Issues at a local, regional, or national level related to policies, procedures, equipment, automation, and publications, deals largely with Systemic issues
  • Safety Event: Incidents which result in actual or potential lost of separation or situations that results in safety degradation in the NAS. Examples are: OE/OD/PE, NMAC, RI, VPD, military facility deviation, spill out, surface incident, go arounds
atsap process
ATSAP Process
  • For each submitted reports, pre-analysis is conducted by the analysts
  • Identifying and confidential information is removed and the reports are made ready
  • Reports are added to respective ERC (Event Review Committee meetings
  • Actual decision for each report is done by the ERC during meetings
  • ERC is composed of AOV, ATO, and NATCA, with experts from areas such as Oceanic Procedures, Flight Service, Tech Ops, Automation etc.
  • There is one ERC for each service area and each handle reports from its own service area
  • ERC meets every week, two to three days and make decisions. If a decision is difficult to make, the report is carried over to the next meeting
erc decision
ERC Decision
  • Act on problems based on reports
  • Generate AIR and CAR to fix problems by coordinating with Facility Managers
  • Provides feedback to individual controllers by coordinating with Fac Rep
  • Add proper taxonomies in reports and close for future analysis and trending
  • Categorize as known or unknown issues and put in watch list if necessary
  • Make corrective action recommendations for:
    • individuals, like skill enhancement training
    • Organizations, systemic correction
  • ATSAP is a success story for the FAA and the industry
  • The largest safety program in the world
  • 50,000 reports in just three years
  • Hundred of positive changes in the NAS
  • Help build just culture where controllers openly share their mistakes without fear of punishment