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Things that go bump in the night,
While waiting for Hansard. Notes.

As it happened – as it was predicted; the Whostoblame ‘interview’ by the committee was pretty much a non event. Only listened to the first 30 minutes – just for fun – but the first 15 minutes wrapped it up. A nervous Sir Angus took time to deliver a 10 minute bus ticket read out. He went to some lengths to point out that the ‘Board’ had nothing to do, whatsoever, with the carrying’s on of the lesser mortals. It was all very smooth; unless you count the nervy ‘look-ups’ at the committee at the less than robust (thin) points raised. He does it every time; love to play poker with this bloke. Every thin line read is followed by an ‘up and under’ glance at the committee; to see if they are swallowing it whole or just chewing. To sum up my short listen/watch session: the board is off the hook. Repeat that 50 times until tedium sends you to sleep. Message delivered.

Time beat me; should have watched/listened to the whole thing. No matter, the ever reliable secretariat will provide the whole ‘vision splendid’ and we can all nod off. Just keep an eye out for the bus; you never know.
Sir A & the Bored off the hook (again) - (YAWN!)  Sleepy

(08-09-2017, 08:05 PM)kharon Wrote: While waiting for Hansard. Notes.

As it happened – as it was predicted; the Whostoblame ‘interview’ by the committee was pretty much a non event. Only listened to the first 30 minutes – just for fun – but the first 15 minutes wrapped it up. A nervous Sir Angus took time to deliver a 10 minute bus ticket read out. He went to some lengths to point out that the ‘Board’ had nothing to do, whatsoever, with the carrying’s on of the lesser mortals. It was all very smooth; unless you count the nervy ‘look-ups’ at the committee at the less than robust (thin) points raised. He does it every time; love to play poker with this bloke. Every thin line read is followed by an ‘up and under’ glance at the committee; to see if they are swallowing it whole or just chewing. To sum up my short listen/watch session: the board is off the hook. Repeat that 50 times until tedium sends you to sleep. Message delivered.

Time beat me; should have watched/listened to the whole thing. No matter, the ever reliable secretariat will provide the whole ‘vision splendid’ and we can all nod off. Just keep an eye out for the bus; you never know.

Sir A: "Do you think they swallowed it??" Dodgy

Keeping in mind that ASA is major sponsor of Oz Aviation, yesterday Gerard Frawley gave us another another version of the - "nothing to see here move along"  - plus a free promotion for the achievements of the Bored to nearly being ready (after 6 years of feasting from the OneSKY trough) to sign off on a Thales open cheque contract - UDB!

Quote:Ninety-nine per cent there on OneSky contract – Airservices chair

August 9, 2017 by Gerard Frawley 
[Image: IMG_0964.jpg]OneSky will replace both Airservices’ The Australian Advanced Air Traffic System (TAAATS) to manage civil airspace and the ADF’s Australian Defence Air Traffic System (ADATS).

Airservices Australia board chair Sir Angus Houston has told a Senate committee that the air navigation service provider is “99 per cent ready to go” to sign contracts for the new OneSky air traffic management system.

Since February 2015 Airservices has been negotiating with Thales as its preferred supplier for the OneSky project for a new civil and military air traffic management system (or CMATS), but the main acquisition and support contracts for the new system, which will be funded by both Airservices and the Department of Defence, have yet to be signed.

“We’re getting close, 99 per cent of the paperwork is contract ready, that means we’re getting very close,” Sir Angus told members of the Senate Rural & Regional Affairs Transport Legislation Committee on Wednesday.

Some risk mitigation work for OneSky has already been undertaken under advance supply contracts, but finalising the main acquisition contract has been delayed while Airservices and Thales agree to terms, especially in the light of a recent Australian National Audit Office audit which raised concerns about the tender evaluation process’s ability to deliver value for money on the near billion dollar project.

But Sir Angus told the committee that Defence is close to seeking government approval for its share of the program from the National Security Committee (NSC) of Cabinet.

“Right now we are about 99 per cent ready to go into contract on our side, we just need to finalise the arrangements with Defence after they’ve been through [the NSC approval process].”

However, the Airservices chair did indicate that Defence’s share of the OneSky project is likely to be greater than a previously agreed “not to exceed” price of $244 million.

“We’re at a stage where Defence are going back to the National Security Committee of Cabinet for a final approval on the project with some form of cost increase,” he said.

Airservices has not publicly put an exact number on the value of its own share of the OneSky program, however the organisation’s new five-year corporate plan, released on Tuesday, records that “OneSKY and its enabling projects account for $652 million” in capital expenditure over the next five financial years, through to the end of 2021-22.

“Much of the delay in finalising this contract is because the board will not sign a contract until such time that it is satisfied that we can protect Airservices commercially under these arrangements,” Tim Rothwell, Airservices board member and chair of the board’s audit and risk committee, told the Senate.

Another of the ANAO report’s criticisms was that the Airservices business case for OneSky had not been reviewed or updated since January 2011.

“The latest cost estimates have been included in Airservices’ corporate plans, including the one tabled yesterday, so it’s not as if the cost estimates were unknown, but the final business case will be provided to the board as part of the approval process, hopefully towards the end of this year when we do hopefully contract to get this project underway,” Rothwell said.

Fellow Airservices board member David Marchant, chair of the board’s technology committee, told the Senate committee Airservices had moved to an open book process as part of contract negotiations to ensure value for money.

“We’ve stopped going to contract until we’ve got the definition and the design absolutely right and it’s absolutely in agreement with Defence and ourselves,” he said.

“Secondly, we’ve moved to a full ‘open book’ process for every cost, for every activity and are going through and assessing those against that design criteria, so we don’t have to go retrospectively back [to make changes once contracts have been signed].

“And the reason for the comment about the business case and the rest is that until that’s concluded and the risks and contingencies all through those things are put out in the open and mitigated down, that’s when we’ll get to a final cost and a final risk and a final mitigation.”

Open book contract management is a contracting arrangement favoured in government procurements in the United Kingdom. It allows “the scrutiny of a supplier’s costs and margins through the reporting of, or accessing, accounting data,” according to the UK’s Crown Commercial Service.

“This transparency allows both parties to be clear on the supplier’s charges, costs, and planned return. It also provides a basis to be able to review performance, agree the impact of change and to bring forward ideas for efficiency improvements.”
This was followed today, by another Oz Aviation Airservices promo, where Sir A & Harfwit in an attempt to further justify their positions, are obviously trying to placate the big end of town Airlines with a 10% reduction to airservices charges... Dodgy

Quote:Airservices promises real cost reductions of 10 per cent
August 10, 2017 by Gerard Frawley[Image: ADL_TWR_1.jpg]Airservices Australia says the benefits of its ‘Accelerate’ restructuring program will allow it to deliver real cost reductions to its aviation industry customers across the next five years.

The government-owned air navigation service provider and aviation firefighting operator released its latest five-year corporate plan on Tuesday, detailing its forecasted financial performance through to the end of the 2021-22 financial year. The plan projects that despite only modest increases in Airservices’ revenues over the five-year period that earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) will rebound strongly, to over $100 million from 2017-18 onwards.

“The plan embeds the cost savings delivered through our new operating model, enables real price reductions of around 10 per cent to be delivered to industry over the next five years, and funds key investment programs to deliver important safety and service improvements,” reads the corporate plan.

“Today our prices are the same as they were in July 2015. Reflecting the delivery of a more efficient operating cost base through our new operating model, this plan maintains weighted average prices at existing rates, delivering our customers real price decreases and improved service value through to 2021-22.”

Airservices’ customer charges are set under five-year Long Term Pricing Agreements (LTPAs). The current pricing agreement came into effect in October 2011 while a new LTPA, which sought to raise charges for air navigation services by an average of 3.3 per cent a year over the five years from 2016, was deferred.

The federal government also stands to benefit from the turnaround in Airservices’ financial performance, receiving a dividend of almost $9 million in 2017-18 rising to around $20 million in subsequent years.

“With capital expenditure funding requirements remaining high, this plan maintains current dividend payout ratios at 30 per cent of net profit after tax. This is projected to return an average of $17 million in dividends each year,” the plan reads.

Much of Airservices’ capital expenditure over the five-year period is for the OneSky air traffic management system.

“Over the five-year planning period, OneSky and its enabling projects account for $652 million, or 61 per cent, of the total spend.”

The balance of $421 million will be “to improve services and sustain current infrastructure as well as to support new runway operations at Brisbane, Melbourne, and Perth”.

The plan shows for the just completed 2016-17 financial year that Airservices was forecast to post an EBIT of $59.8 million, following a net loss after tax of $127.3 million in 2015-16, the organisation’s first loss in its 20-year history and one largely due to one-off restructuring costs, including staff redundancies.

The corporate plan shows staff costs for 2016-17 to be a forecast $678.8 million, falling to $640.8 million in 2017-18 and rising modestly thereafter.

“Over 2016-17 we successfully transitioned to a new, simpler operating model based on customer needs, with less bureaucracy and more accountability. Our focus is now on sustaining and improving our organisational performance,” the corporate plan notes.
Under Accelerate Airservices’ workforce was to be cut from 4,500 to 3,600.

MTF...P2  Cool

Finally ASA Hansard? - & Jenkins ROR... Rolleyes

Finally the Hansard for last week's ASA Performance Inquiry public hearing has been released:

Quote:Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee
(Senate-Wednesday, 9 August 2017)
Not sure what the delay was but maybe it had something with this just tabled Senate Estimates document which was received (not tabled) 23 June 2017:

Quote:4) Correspondence received 23 June 2017 from Mr Chris Jenkins, CEO, Thales Australia & NZ, providing a right of reply to evidence given on 23 May 2017. - PDF 2972KB

[Image: Jenkins-1.jpg]
[Image: Jenkins-2.jpg]

MTF...P2 Cool


OneSKY update - "Houston we may have a problem??!!"

Via the Oz:

Quote:Defence air traffic control plan worth $409 million ‘out of date’
[Image: 145e84753afe8fc649b7d8508b2d73c0?width=650]
A Defence upgrade of air traffic control facilities is two years late.
  • The Australian
  • 3:20PM August 18, 2017

An upgrade to Defence’s antiquated air traffic control facilities costing $409 million is two years late and has been placed on the “projects of concern” list.

The deployable air traffic control and civil military air traffic management systems were put on the list after experiencing scheduling delays, Defence Minister Marise Payne and Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne announced today.

“This is a highly complex, interdepartmental project of national significance that has experienced some substantial challenges getting into contract,’’ the Ministers said in a joint release.

“The challenges revolve around issues with ensuring value for the taxpayers.”

The project’s official titles are the Air 5431 Phase 1 Deployable Defence Air Traffic Management and the Control System and the Project Air 5431 Phase 3 Civil Military Air Traffic Management System.

Project Air 5431 phase 1 involves introducing a new deployable defence air traffic management and control system to replace a tactical air surveillance radar, according to the tender document released in 2008.

At the time of the tender the project was described as need to “comprise a mix of mobile and transportable air traffic management systems each with its own primary and secondary radar sensors, command and control and communication subsystems and organic maintenance support”.

The project which was approved in 2014 was supposed to be rapidly deployable within Australia or overseas.

Air 5431 Phase 3 program involved harmonising a civilian and military air traffic management system under the “OneSky Banner” being led by Airservices Australia.

The project was supposed to provide operational benefits and efficiencies for military and civilian airspace users and reduced acquisition and support costs for Airservices and Defence.

It involved 12 Air Traffic Management automation systems, communications infrastructure, training systems and defence’s share of a Joint Software Support Facility.

& via Oz Aviation:

OneSky added to Defence’s Projects of Concern list

August 18, 2017 by

[Image: IMG_0964.jpg]OneSky will replace the existing TAAATS system. (Airservices)

Defence’s participation in the Airservices Australia-led OneSky program to acquire a joint civil and military air traffic management system has been placed onto the government’s Projects of Concern list.

As a consequence, the project, which aims to replace the currently separate civil and Defence air traffic management systems under a single program, and is known to Defence as Project AIR 5431 Phase 3 Civil Military Air Traffic Management System, now faces increased ministerial involvement and oversight.

“This is a highly complex, inter-departmental project of national significance that has experienced some substantial challenges getting into contract,” Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne and Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne said in a joint statement on Friday.

“The challenges revolve around issues with ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.”

The move is thought to be unprecedented for a project to be added to the Projects of Concern list before it has gone to contract.

The federal government named Thales as the successful supplier for OneSky at the 2015 Avalon Airshow.

Since then, Airservices has been negotiating with the the company ahead of signing formal contracts, with some preliminary work undertaken via a series of “advanced work orders”.

Last week Airservices chair Sir Angus Houston told a Senate committee the contracts are close to being ready.

“We’re getting close, 99 per cent of the paperwork is contract ready, that means we’re getting very close,” Sir Angus told members of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs Transport Legislation Committee on August 9.

Sir Angus also told the Senate Committee Defence would be shortly seeking government approval for its share of the program from the National Security Committee (NSC) of Cabinet.

With Parliament sitting in Canberra this past week, NSC may have met to discuss OneSky, among other matters, possibly prompting the joint ministerial announcement on Friday.
Defence and Airservices are jointly funding the OneSky project, with the total cost estimated to be near $1 billion.

An Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report published in April questioned OneSky’s value for money, suggesting Australia could end up paying too much for the combined civil and military air traffic management system .

Specifically, the ANAO was critical of how the tenders were evaluated.

“It is not clearly evident that the successful tender offered the best value for money,” the ANAO report said.

Further, the ANAO said it was “not clearly evident that the successful tender is affordable in the context of the funding available to Airservices and Defence”.

Airservices’ most recent five-year corporate plan noted “OneSky and its enabling projects account for $652 million” in capital expenditure over the next five financial years, through to the end of 2021-22.

While Defence had previously capped its financial commitment at a “not to exceed” price of $244 million, Sir Angus told the Senate Committee Defence would seek from the NSC final approval for some form of cost increase.

Parts of the new OneSky system were expected to be operating by 2018, with the full operating capability expected in 2023, two years later than the original 2021 completion date.

Meanwhile, the AIR 5431 Phase 1 Deployable Defence Air Traffic Management and Control System project has also been added to the Projects of Concern list.

Indra was awarded this project in 2014 to deliver a mix of mobile and transportable air traffic control radars and supporting equipment to allow Defence to control and monitor air traffic while deployed on operations.

“The project has experienced schedule delays since approval, and initial delivery is expected almost two years later than originally planned,” the Ministers said.

The addition of the two projects to the Projects of Concern list is unrelated, although they are part of the same program.

Further proof that the OneSKY GWE trough fund is under severe drought conditions - Blush

Reference: Once upon a night time dreary.
Quote:[Image: images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQbIyam_Q4Aqxws176KQlm...8wyjdv4Whg]
The OneSky Great White Elephant - Gift to a nation [Image: rolleyes.gif]

..All very neat and corporate, no doubt all legal; but what’s the point of having a board if they simply ‘sign off’ on the project without examining the whole, very carefully indeed. This is not a Chook shed they are approving – it is a project of great national interest, public safety, industry efficiency and a great big pile of public money. It begs the question; how can a government monopoly loose a fortune and presents the industry with a less than perfect system continue, as it stands? But what I’d like to know is how can a board sit on it’s collective thumbs and allow the situation we find ourselves in happen – on their watch. It is wrong: plain, pure and simple. Time to rebuild, from the ground up. Privatisation is the only real solution – take a long, hard, look at Canada, the Americans are...

MTF...P2 Tongue
Is Sir Gallacher the OneSKY nutcracker?

Not that I'm much on the boring - Sleepy - intricacies of government infrastructure tenders but having reviewed the Hansard I believe the following segment from the ASA MKII performance inquiry hearing was critical to the above MSM reports... Confused

Quote:Senator GALLACHER: Chair, can I just put two questions on those?

CHAIR: Sure.

Senator GALLACHER: So you've accepted recommendations 1 to 6. One of those recommendations is that you improve your value for money.

Mr Rothwell : Yes.

Senator GALLACHER: How do you do that retrospectively? You've gone through a process, you've ended up with a tenderer and you've ended up with a figure. You've accepted these recommendations, and I accept that in the future you may do things very much better. How do you apply value for money retrospectively? I'm happy for you to take that on notice.

Mr Rothwell : I'm happy to try and deal with that question. I think the very reason we haven't signed the contract is that we are striving to ensure that we do achieve value for money and—

Senator GALLACHER: Okay, but, see, this is a two-part question. How do you achieve value for money retrospectively? And what about your major silent partner in this exercise? Is anybody on the board prepared to put on the record what Defence's position is in respect of value for money?

Mr Marchant : There is no retrospective approach to value for money, as you have suggested. What we have moved to is an open-book reassessment of all the cost bases and all the return framework: an open book. We have learned the issues from the US and elsewhere and have gone back and said that we want to make sure that the specifications, design and criteria that are in the process actually line up with Defence's and our absolute expectations. That was one of the failings in the US; it blew out by billions of dollars because what was promised and what they got weren't in alignment. So we've stopped going to contract until we get the definition and design absolutely right, and it is absolutely in agreement with Defence and ourselves.

Secondly, we've moved to a full open-book process for every cost and for every activity. We are going through and assessing those against that design and criteria so we don't have to go back retrospectively. The reason for the comment about business case and the rest is that until that's concluded and the risks and contingencies all through those things are put out in the open and actually mitigated down, that's when we'll get to a final cost, a final risk and a final mitigation. The reason we are doing that now is not to get into the problems that our overseas colleagues have had by finding these things blow out later and that we have to come back and explain billions of dollars of blowout. So we are not retrospectively refitting.

CHAIR: You are in a last-man-standing environment here, aren't you?

Mr Marchant : No, we're far from it. We are far from that, Senator.

CHAIR: Well, you might help me and tell me who the other final competitors are to win this? Because evidence given to this committee before is that there was a shortlist of three.

Mr Marchant : Yes—

CHAIR: Two are now out and you've got one man left standing. Right?

Mr Marchant : In this process—

CHAIR: You are in a process, which you have just described—an open-book process, and I understand that.

Mr Marchant : Yes.

CHAIR: But there is only one person going to deliver this project—only one company.
Mr Marchant : Senator, there are three premises to that. We've all been in that situation, because once you get down to a winning provider, you—

CHAIR: Not when you get a bit of neck and neck about it, you don't get to that situation but—

Mr Marchant : Neck and neck requires like for like—

CHAIR: Yes, noted.

Mr Marchant : and the reality is that the evaluation is very clear on the technical and sound framework. But let me deal with your issue, because that is a critical issue of negotiating this framework.

There are a number of elements to actually finishing this. The open-book process provides for transparent and asymmetrical information in the actual management of the risks and the dimensions of it, including some changes that Defence want et cetera. It is better to do that through this process than to get raped and pillaged later. There are only a few suppliers worldwide for the air navigation market. The Australian market is one of the first to go to the next block of what are KO standards. We are seeking the next block of what the world market is requiring.

Whoever wins this actually gets into a situation where they are seen worldwide as being able to provide that next block, which Europe and the rest will have to move to on their next upgrades. So there is a lot of pressure on this supplier not only to win this but to deliver it on quality, price and risk outcomes, because nearly every ANSP in the world is watching.

Senator STERLE: So we are down to one last one standing, and there's one coming, but we're going to get, hopefully, open, accountable costings—the whole lot, with value for dollars.

Mr Marchant : Correct.

Senator STERLE: If it does not line up, they can walk away, sharpen the pencil, come back again and have another crack?

Mr Marchant : Yes. There are three elements to it. This is a world market where, because of our history, we happen to be in the lead for that framework, so there's a lot of pressure to provide the right outcome, because it opens up a market for them.
Secondly, the Australian market has a few suppliers and they're bidding for other Australian frameworks. Whatever they do here will be observed by other Australian agencies.

Lastly, through the open-book contender process, if in the end they aren't able to come to an outcome collectively with us, on value and quality, we don't have to sign a contract. We've not signed a contract yet. We're holding back to get all these things lined up and against the risks and against the detailed design so we do not fall into the US and other environment problems. So, even with one player, we are methodically going through it to keep the right pressure points there and we still have the option of not proceeding with a private provider.

Senator GALLACHER: Is there any prospective income arising out of this OneSKY? You're saying that whoever the successful person is, in integrating military and civilian airspace with a 'best of the best' system, can market it overseas. Is there anything that Airservices gets out of that? Do you get any prospective income from the creation of this world first?

Mr Marchant : We're working through those issues. I won't go into the commercial issues.

Senator GALLACHER: You don't know?

Mr Marchant : No, I'm not going to go through the negotiating rules here.

Senator GALLACHER: We're trying to find value for money in the public interest: what's the residual effect on the balance sheet?

Mr Marchant : Yes, of course.

Senator GALLACHER: At the moment, it looks like a dog's breakfast. We need it. Everybody knows we need it. We need the best in the world. It is a simple question: is there going to be any prospective income out of this extraordinary spend of money on world's best practice aviation management?

Mr Rothwell : Again, this is part of finalising the contract with Thales. That negotiation is part of finalising it.

Senator GALLACHER: So do they get the income? That's what I heard over the airwaves.

Mr Rothwell : We're still negotiating in that respect. Could I just also put in the fact that, from a value-for-money perspective, it is not just about the capital project—albeit that is very, very important, clearly. It is also about the total cost of operating Airservices. The airlines' charges are very much driven by these capital projects, including this one, but also the cost of operation of the organisation.

Senator GALLACHER: You may not have heard me before. I don't give a rat's about the airlines, because they pass it back to the passengers. Luv it!  Big Grin

Mr Rothwell : Sure.

Senator GALLACHER: So it's the travelling public who eventually pay.
Mr Rothwell : Correct.

Senator GALLACHER: So it's people who get on and off planes who eventually pay for this.

Mr Rothwell : Absolutely, and that is why we went through the very extensive process to look at the whole organisation. We have reduced the costs of the organisation by some $170 million

Air Chief Marshal Houston : By $177.5 million a year.

Mr Rothwell : That will come directly off the charges that airlines pay for these services. So a very critical part of value for money is that process as well. It is important perhaps to realise—and I'm sure you do—that the whole Airservices operation and this project will be run with no government funding whatsoever. It will be charges to airlines. Indeed, Airservices is forecasting under its corporate plan, tabled yesterday, that it will be paying to the federal government in excess of $50 million a year in taxes and dividends from 2018. If we can try to get over the value-for-money point, we are striving to get the best value for money for both the taxpayer and the travelling public.

Senator GALLACHER: You just need a few good audit reports to get the direction of this committee looking elsewhere. You haven't had them.

Senator GALLACHER: Can I just finish on your other partner, who I will examine in estimates later on in the year. There is a statement:

The overall acquisition cost estimate is not affordable against the draft 2014 Defence Capability Plan provision, and not affordable over the whole of life.

… Finance has not been provided with the basis against which to assess that Airservices can deliver the whole project. Nor has Finance been provided with the basis to assess whether the Defence capability can be delivered for the Airservices-agreed Not-to-Exceed price of $255.0 million for the Defence share of the Civil-Military Air Traffic Management System.

I accept that that is an historical figure, but, either now or on notice, can someone explain where you are sitting with your partner?

Air Chief Marshal Houston : We would be delighted to do that.

Senator GALLACHER: I have to tell you I have had a briefing from Defence. I want to see two sides of the story.

Air Chief Marshal Houston : We are at a stage where Defence are going back to the National Security Committee of Cabinet for a final approval on the project and for, I think, some form of cost increase. That is for them to inform you about.

Senator GALLACHER: So that's a correct statement—there is a process in place.

Air Chief Marshal Houston : There is a process and we are working very closely with Defence. Before you get to the National Security Committee of cabinet, there are a number of steps. We are joined up and we will be working closely together to ensure that we're in the best possible posture going into that National Security Committee of cabinet.

Just to make it very clear, in relation to the civil side of the project the board holds the delegation for the funding approvals, as you know. With Defence, they have to go to the National Security Committee of cabinet to get their funding authorisation.

Senator GALLACHER: So would it be unfair to characterise that revision in costs as a bit of competitive tension on Airservices? No-one likes to go back and ask for extra money. Are they putting their full scrutiny into this process to ensure we do end up with value for money?

Air Chief Marshal Houston : They are. I've spoken to the vice chief in the last few case days. The CEO has spoken to the Chief of Air Force in last few days. We are in lock step as to how we need to get to get to get to the National Security Committee of cabinet with the right story. Right now we're about 99 per cent ready to go into contract on our side. We just need to finalise the arrangements with Defence after they've been through that—

CHAIR: If the final quantum is not known, given you're still working through the due process with a potential contractor—

Air Chief Marshal Houston : We're obviously in negotiation with Thales at the moment.

CHAIR: So you're working on an ambit figure here?

Air Chief Marshal Houston : No. It's a very good process, an open-book process. We're looking at different assessments of risk and how much—

CHAIR: The total cost, which you will apportion between domestic or national services and Defence, that total figure is not known. It's an evolutionary figure that's moving along as you complete your processes in this case.

Air Chief Marshal Houston : To put it this way, we have much more definition of costs—

CHAIR: So you're in the ballpark with a tolerance of four or five per cent or something.

Air Chief Marshal Houston : We're getting close. Ninety-nine per cent of the paperwork is contract ready. That means we're getting very close. The risk-reduction work orders are continuing. All the way through, what we're getting is reduction in risk, and we're getting into a better place in terms of ensuring value for money.

Mr Rothwell : To put your minds at ease, this board cannot sign an agreement with Thales without a back-to-back agreement with Defence. Defence's agreement is—

Senator GALLACHER: I think Defence told me there was a preferred supplier on the books, but it wasn't value for money.

MTF...P2 Tongue

Ps Bye the bye, I note that in the US that some of the more powerful GA Alphabets are taking issue with the Trump idea of privatising ATC... Rolleyes  

Quote:Aviation groups: Privatizing air traffic control hurts Florida flight training

[Image: 1503369937795.jpg]
President Trump and House Republicans are pushing a plan to shift the air traffic control system to a private system with a non-profit board of directors.

By Troy Kinsey, Capitol Bureau Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, August 21, 2017


As the Trump administration presses a plan to privatize the nation's air traffic control system, general aviation advocates are warning the proposal could all but decimate Florida's flight training industry and, in turn, exacerbate a growing airline pilot shortage.
  • Trump administration, House GOP wants to privatize air traffic control
  • Non-profit board of directors dominated by airline executives
  • Aviation leaders call for modernizing, not privatizing
The White House proposal is included in legislation recently filed by House Republicans and would shift the management of air traffic control from the Federal Aviation Administration to a non-profit board of directors. The board would be empowered to overhaul air traffic control processes, with an eye toward addressing the systemic delays plaguing the airline industry.

"Our plan will get you where you need to go more quickly, more reliably, more affordably and, yes, for the first time in a long time, on time," President Trump said in introducing the plan in June.

Because the board would be dominated by airline executives, however, it could be predisposed to implement airline-friendly policies, such as charging general aviation pilots air traffic control user fees. That, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President Mark Baker warns, would have the effect of discouraging the commerce and flight training operations that are critical parts of local economies.

"The ecosystem that we have in transportation, which includes airspace, air traffic, 5,000 public use airports, which keep jobs happening in rural America, bringing products to market, wouldn't happen -- 'cause it doesn't happen anywhere else in the world -- with a privatized system," Baker said.

Baker joined the leaders of three other aviation organizations -- the National Business Aviation Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and the Experimental Aircraft Association -- for an anti-privatization rally at EAA's AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, WI, last month.

The rally's tagline -- 'modernize, not privatize' -- underscored the groups' demands for Congress to pass multi-year FAA budgets that would allow the agency to take a long-term approach to improving the air traffic control system.

Sun 'n Fun President John 'Lites' Leenhouts came to Oshkosh, too, both to promote the Polk County flight training scholarship organization's annual airshow and to stand in solidarity against privatization. If user fees were to be implemented, he predicted Florida's mammoth flight training industry - second only to California's - could be hit especially hard, with prospective students deciding a career in aviation isn't worth the cost of training.

"If you charge those rates to operate out of an airfield and in the sky to learn to fly, the cost to learn, which is already expensive, goes up exponentially," Leenhouts said. "That then precludes the potential new aviator from going into the business."

Critics of the privatization proposal also argue that airline delays rarely owe to inefficiencies in the air traffic control system. Instead, most delays are caused by overcrowded hubs, maintenance issues and weather.

If anything, Leenhouts said, privatization could increase delays if it causes the pilot shortage - which Boeing estimates has grown to 637,000 over the next two decades - to get even worse. By discouraging flight training, user fees could leave airlines with lots of airplanes but not enough pilots to fly them.

"Guess who's going to pay for it?" Leenhouts asked. "You and I that get into our general aviation aircraft and call a controller and take off out of an airfield and land somewhere else. We're paying the price for them to talk to us, and right now if we do that it'll kill what is already a really challenging career field."

Privatization proponents point out that user fees aren't part of the current proposal, which maintains the use of the aviation fuel tax as the principal means of funding air traffic control.

Simply shifting to a privatized system, though, could come at a steep cost to taxpayers.

Last week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the current legislation would increase the federal budget deficit by $98.5 billion over ten years, up from an initial projection of $20.7 billion. 

Again lessons to be learnt from the Canuck system I'd say - Wink
Gallacher steps up.

There are some among us - ‘brung up proper’ – who understand the skills and tactics of the traditional “Aunt-Sally” game. ‘Tis an ancient, honourable ‘team’ pass time which requires tactics and some skill. Guile, cunning and accuracy are essential elements; if the very small, distant target ‘pin’ is to be knocked out of it’s retaining bracket; which is essential. Now, the Senate team are premier league.    

Senator GALLACHER: "Okay, but, see, this is a two-part question. How do you achieve value for money retrospectively? And what about your major silent partner in this exercise? Is anybody on the board prepared to put on the record what Defence's position is in respect of value for money?"

Hansard – words only –does not do justice to a pitch made by Gallacher during the Senate v ASA Top Cover team match. You need to study the ‘vision’ to appreciate the Gallacher skill. Watch the tape through to about 00:57 then watch as the bomb drops. Gallacher is directing the question to the tow headed Rothwell (Yorkshire? Man) who’s head comes up in panic desperate for help as all the warning lights flash on. The noises made by he fellah on the other side of Who’stoblame (Marchant) @ 01:00 to about 01:02 are a classic. Inarticulate, breathless, basic  (Oh’ Duck) noises made to fill in a very pregnant pause.

Now then, Marchant is good, make no mistake; top drawer and once he realised that the Gallacher throw had unseated the pin he was almost quick enough to prevent the points being scored – almost.

It took about two seconds for him to come up with a ‘pat’ answer to gain the time needed: Alas.  FWIW, below is a text book non response to a question which, sooner or later, is going to require a proper answer.

Mr Marchant : “There is no retrospective approach to value for money, as you have suggested. What we have moved to is an open-book reassessment of all the cost bases and all the return framework: an open book. We have learned the issues from the US and elsewhere and have gone back and said that we want to make sure that the specifications, design and criteria that are in the process actually line up with Defence's and our absolute expectations. That was one of the failings in the US; it blew out by billions of dollars because what was promised and what they got weren't in alignment. So we've stopped going to contract until we get the definition and design absolutely right, and it is absolutely in agreement with Defence and ourselves.”

Choc Frog throw Senator; in slow motion, the looks of consternation, shock and horror as the Aunt Sally pin goes flying are priceless. Nicely played Sir, indeed.

Toot toot.
Quote:[Image: images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQbIyam_Q4Aqxws176KQlm...8wyjdv4Whg]

The OneSky Great White Elephant - Gift to a nation [Image: rolleyes.gif]

Reference: Once upon a night time dreary.

OneSKY Great White Elephant update - Confused

Via iTNews... Wink :

Quote:Airservices forced to defend tender process for $1bn OneSKY

By Allie Coyne on Aug 21, 2017 6:30AM
[Image: ImageResizer.ashx?n=http%3a%2f%2fi.nextm...80&c=0&s=1]  

Over potential conflict of interest.

Airservices has been forced to defend its selection of Thales as the preferred vendor for its billion-dollar OneSKY system overhaul with Defence, despite not having signed a contract more than two years on and as costs already climb.

The civil-military air traffic management system (CMATS) project commenced in 2010. At the time, both agencies thought the system would reach final operational capability in 2017-18.

Airservices selected Thales in March 2015, and was expected to formalise an arrangement that same year.

But more than two years after the decision was made, Airservices is still yet to sign a contract, and isn't confident it will do so before the end of 2017.

It has also revealed the project is likely to blow way past its initial cost estimates, and has been forced to defend itself against suggestions of a potential conflict of interest.


When it eventually goes live, the OneSKY system will facilitate air traffic control for 11 percent of the world's civil and military aircraft.

It will merge the separate Defence and Airservices air traffic systems into the "world's most advanced air traffic control system", according to Airservices.

But it's for this reason - and the many layers of complexity the project involves - that the agency is still yet to sign a contract with tentatively chosen supplier Thales.

"Air traffic control systems are not an off-the-shelf product. Each system must cater for a nation's differing airspace coverage requirements, differing number of interfaces, the number of facilities and the specific requirements of the local aviation industry," air chief marshal Sir Angus Houston told a recent senate committee hearing into the project.

"These differences create complexities that mean that all air traffic control systems need to be configured and tailored to address not only the complexities but also the peculiarities of the actual area to be covered. Every system is unique."

The procurement process was, as a result, "inherently constrained and complex from both an operational and a commercial perspective," Houston said.

Earlier this year the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) revealed the process had involved the testing of nine bids over five phases against a set of 2609 specification requirements.

Much of the delay to signing the contract - which Airservices is hoping will occur by the end of the year but is by no means confident - has been to ensure Airservices will be commercially protected under any arrangement, Houston said.

The agency is planning to provide a final business case to its board "hopefully" towards the end of this year and finally get the contract signed and project underway.

"We have learned [from] issues in the US and elsewhere and have gone back and said that we want to make sure that the specifications, design and criteria that are in the process actually line up with Defence's and our absolute expectations," Airservices board member David Marchant told the committee.

"That was one of the failings in the US; it blew out by billions of dollars because what was promised and what they got weren't in alignment. So we've stopped going to contract until we get the definition and design absolutely right, and it is absolutely in agreement with Defence and ourselves."

The agency has already spent $75 million with Thales on advance work orders ahead of a formal contract signing.

This week Airservices revealed it is expecting to spend $652 million on the CMATS over the next five years.

The project was originally intended to have a 50:50 cost split with Defence, but this has not been settled because the agencies have not been able to align their business cases or approvals processes.

The cost split will be reviewed once the final contract price has been agreed.
Defence received second pass approval for $906 million for the project in December 2014.

Houston revealed at the committee hearing that Defence has gone back to the national security committee of cabinet for final approval and "I think some form of cost increase", meaning the project at completion will far exceed the $1 billion mark.
Airservices' initial estimate for the OneSKY overhaul back in 2011 was $727.6 million.

Conflict of interest

Airservices has also been forced to defend itself against a potential conflict of interest in the procurement process for the Thales system.

The contractor engaged as lead negotiator on the Thales deal, Harry Bradford, was hired through the not-for-profit International Centre for Complex Project Management (ICCPM). He was paid $1 million for his services.

At various points in time Bradford also sat on the board of the ICCPM - as did Thales managing director Chris Jenkins.

"I mean, who in their right mind thought that this could look kosher? For a business that has no competition in the marketplace, you turn over a good dollar for the Australian taxpayer. Well, you used to turn over a very good dollar for the taxpayer; I'm not so sure now," Labor senator Glenn Sterle said.

Marchant argued the board was voluntary and non-remunerated, and no employer-employee relationship between Bradford and Jenkins existed.

"That same board of ICCPM actually had other bidders' CEOs on it as well. It's an industry association, plus defence personnel et cetera, including defence from other countries," he said.

"I want to emphasise— and I've gone through this very thoroughly in the background in Bradford's case—he has never been an employee or contractor of Thales. In fact, he had been of a competitor."

Marchant also noted that the market for skillsets in complex technology and defence projects was, both locally and globally, "very limited".

"The reality is that no organisation such as Airservices has within its staff that sort of detailed skill set for complex technology negotiations."

Why they picked Thales

Marchant revealed there had been "significant disparities" between bidding parties in proposed designs, whether they had proven products or would need to build from scratch, and consequently the resulting bids put forward for the work.

"There are more than a thousand interfaces, and the language of those interfaces is quite different between various parts of Defence and various parts of Airservices, and this thing has to interpret and interface with about a thousand different frameworks, let alone the international ones etc," he said.

"In one case, a bidder had a program that does that to a large degree, including trajectory, but the interfaces are enormous here compared to the locations they've actually used."

He said Thales - the provider of Airservices' existing TAAATS system - had an edge over other bidders because it had a "demonstrated product" that was in use elsewhere.

The ANAO report from April acknowledged Thales had come through the evaluation process as the lowest-risk option that could best comply with the agencies' requirements, but had also been the second most expensive bid.

"The amount of effort (in terms of cost and schedule) to bring the Thales solution to an ‘acceptable baseline’ was assessed to be ‘minimal’ compared with ‘very significant’ for the other two tenders," the ANAO said at the time.

Next from the Canberra Times an update on the growing class action against Airservices:

Quote:Airservices Australia class action grows to up to $40 million

[Image: 1484020750659.jpg][/url]
Steven Trask

A mounting class action against Airservices Australia could represent "the largest underpayment of workers by a Commonwealth body corporate in Australian history".
Centred on alleged shortfalls in superannuation and redundancy entitlements, the lawsuit is believed to affect as many as 600 former government employees and 150 current managers.

[Image: 1503609733463.jpg] Stuart Allman is one of the claimants in a class action against Airservices Australia. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong  

Rory Markham, the director of employment and risk management at Chamberlains Law, said the total value of the claim could be between $25 and $40 million.

"If we are correct in this position, this claim will be the largest underpayment of workers by a Commonwealth body corporate in Australian history," he said.

"[It] will demonstrate that not even the public service is immune from underpayments and breaches of basic employment conditions."

The scale and systemic nature of the alleged breach has been compared to the 7-Eleven wage scandal, which resulted in total compensation of more than $100 million spread across thousands of workers.  

"What remains of more concern on a policy level is that the above quantum does not involve the imposition of a regulatory penalty, which under the Fair Work Act 2009 can amount to $52,000 per contravention for a corporation such as Airservices," Mr Markham said.

Airservices Australia is the government entity responsible for air traffic control, fire fighting and navigation services at a number of federally-leased airports across the country.

Get the latest news and updates emailed straight to your inbox.

Lawyers said the suit stemmed from the use of "personal management contracts" when staff were promoted following the introduction of the 2009 Fair Work Act.

Staff allegedly signed away the terms of their existing enterprise agreements and their rights to better leave entitlements, redundancy payments and superannuation contributions.  

Mr Markham said affected claimants were believed to include level 3 and 4 managers from the past six years, air traffic control line managers, senior air traffic controllers and even the senior executive group of Airservices.

One of the former employees believed to be impacted is Canberra resident Stuart Allman, who joined Airservices from the Royal Airforce in 2005 and moved to an individual management contract in 2010.

"It's not like I knew there was any problem with the contract at the time," he said.

"It was like if you wanted the promotion you had to sign the contract. If you didn't sign you didn't get the job."

Mr Allman's payment shortfall as a result of taking the contract is believed to include $174,000 in lost redundancy entitlements and $40,000 in lost superannuation.

The typical shortfall for staff not made redundant was likely to be between $30,000 and $60,000, Mr Markham said.

A spokeswoman for Airservices Australia said the agency was working through "a number of issues" as part of the legal process.

"Airservices Australia is, and always has been, a responsible employer and we ensure that every employee's rights and entitlements are met and protected," the spokeswoman said.

"We have a total commitment to our duty of care for all Airservices' employees.

"As The Canberra Times is fully aware, a number of issues have been foreshadowed as part of potential legal actions and these issues will be examined and determined as part of that process."
This short article from ‘Aerotime’ is worth a quick read through.  Canada and Australia fairly similar – in needs; the USA in furious debate, food for thought.

"Let’s go straight to the point – NAV CANADA has been a total success since its inception in 1996. Created after the wave of privatization in the Canadian civil aviation landscape, the non-for-profit private corporation became on November 1 of the same year the owner and operator of Canada’s civil Air Navigation System (ANS) by acquiring assets from the federal government for $1.5 billion. Twenty years later, NAV CANADA manages the movement of 12 million planes each year generating $1.4 billion in revenue and $37 million in net income (FY 2016)."
COI, Defence, Houston & projects of concern - Dodgy

In the Senate yesterday an interesting debate ensued on a Nick Xenophon led motion for the release of documents pertaining to Navy shipbuilding procurement and limited Govt tenders in relation to the Navy future frigate program - order for the production of documents.   

Senator Gallagher entered the debate and drew an interesting parallel to the limited Thales OneSKY tender (note Senator Payne's retort to this parallel):
Quote:[Image: 204953.jpg] Senator GALLACHER (South Australia) (16:49): I too rise to make a contribution in this debate on an order for the production of documents in relation to shipbuilding. The first thing I want to say, as the chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, is that we get notified every year, every estimates, of the projects of concern. It's intriguing to note that all the projects of concern currently listed by the department are a result of limited tender. If you look at the projects of concern, they are all limited tender projects. So what we're asking for here is more clarity, more transparency, more openness, about the expenditure of billions of dollars worth of taxpayers' money, because we do not want to end up with another project of concern. I will give one example of a project of concern: the OneSKY project, which Defence is a huge partner in. It ended up with one preferred tenderer, at a cost deemed not to be value for money for the Commonwealth. That was the outcome of $400 million-plus of Defence's expenditure.

[Image: M56.jpg] Senator Payne: Not a tender run by Defence.

[Image: 204953.jpg] Senator GALLACHER: I take the minister's interjection. It was not completely run by Defence. But it would be no surprise to those people in Defence that the chairman of Airservices Australia is a former Chief of the Australian Defence Force; so they have a fair bit of sway in all areas of Airservices. Anyway, I will get back to the point of concern. I sat through the contributions from Senator Xenophon and Senator Carr. I'm not going to repeat the statements they made, but it's really intriguing to note that, out of all the First World navies, we are the only one to ask foreign shipbuilders to build in country without requiring a local partner to lead the program. There are countries that do that—Belgium, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Norway, Indonesia.

Senator Payne interjecting—

[Image: 204953.jpg] Senator GALLACHER: Look at First World navies. We are a First World navy, and we are asking a foreign shipbuilder—we accept that the foreign design is probably applicable—for a local build. All the nations that have local design, local shipbuilder, local build have moved from foreign design, local shipbuilder, local build. So that's where you should start. But Australia's going to be an outlier, in that we're not requiring the people who have capacity to build ships in Australia to be part of the process. It is astounding that the RFT actually writes them out. We're going back to the days pre-Senator Payne, to the former minister, who did say in this chamber that he wouldn't trust ASC to build a canoe. That came around after an Australian National Audit Office report said that there's no lack of productivity with the workers at ASC; it's the fact they have to do the job three times—not once, not twice but three times—because Navantia and the other people who gave them the plans weren't giving them to the workforce in a way that they were able to do it once, on time. The Australian National Audit Office said there was no lack of productivity amongst the workforce; they simply had to do the job multiple times.

The government does not realise that we've gone on from that stage and that people are skilled. There is tremendous learning vested in ASC. You've paid the price. You've got management right. You've got them on track doing a good job. But you actually wrote to or rang three of the preferred tenderers and said, 'You don't have to engage the workforce and you don't have to talk to them.' That seems me to be quite astounding. And we wouldn't have known about this unless someone had leaked a document.

Let's go to Austal. Senator Carr more or less said it all. This is a company that sells ships to the Vikings! It sells ships to Denmark. It is building ships in the United States. The evidence we had before the committee was very explicit and clear—there was tremendous engagement with all of the preferred contractors. There was tremendous engagement with both ASC and Austal until Mr Gillis made those phone calls. As Senator Carr says, the committee will have to ask Mr Gillis about the intent of those phone calls.
But what's really tragic here is that there is probably a one-off opportunity—I accept the jobs will be in South Australia. I don't think anybody's arguing that there's not going to be a lot of jobs created and sustained for generations in South Australia. But what we really want is someone who's going to take charge of the export potential. If we're really serious about our sovereign shipbuilding potential, we should use this enormous investment of taxpayers' money to expand the skill, to get the people into the training college, to get the design capability, to build ships and sell them to other people. Despite all the criticisms of the motor vehicle industry, we know that, as it's approaching its closure—$1.2 billion worth of cars into the Middle East. When the dollar was 72c, we were building Camaros for the American market. The California police would order stuff from Australia. That was because they had design capability built out of investment in manufacturing.

We have an opportunity to do that in shipbuilding now. We can not only make these ships with an Australian workforce; we can get that Australian workforce to such a place that they will be making, designing and exporting. And that's the vision—and I have to say this in this chamber—that the CEO of Austal is selling. And he sold me. Without any taxpayer subsidy, they can build big ships for the American navy. Without any subsidy, Austal and Incat, a Tasmanian company, lead the world in design and sale of aluminium ships. I'm up for the challenge. They wanted to team with ASC, cut steel and make steel ships. That's what this is about. With $35 billion going in, what you get is a fully productive industry in Australia capable of exporting to the rest of the world and making $10 for every dollar that goes in. That's the challenge here, which I don't see either Minister Pyne or Minister Payne taking up.

When you have that RFT leaked, it looks as if you want to write out Austal and write out ASC. If their evidence to the committee is that all discussions ceased forthwith, well, there are, seriously, some questions to answer about an incredible opportunity for Australia and an incredible opportunity for manufacturing in Australia. I don't think that politics should have anything to do with this. Where practical and possible, we should be able to contribute as an opposition, or Senator Xenophon as a participant in this Senate, for a good outcome for Australia. The way we're going at the moment, we're going to end up, I fear, with another project of concern. A lot of those on the other side—and I don't include the minister in this—who are relying on the bureaucrats in Defence have ended up with projects of concern. When we were in government, we ended up with projects of concern.

So what we need to do is have as much transparency as absolutely practical and possible, recognising there is always commercial-in-confidence. But someone needs to answer to the committee and the taxpayers why we're not looking at this export opportunity. It may need to grow in the three, five or 10 years. Why are we saying we can only have BAE or Fincantieri? The reality is: where is their interest going to lie at the end of this? Their interest is going to lie with their nation. Why don't we have sovereign capability in Adelaide or in South Australia. The supply chain which grows from that would be enormous. It really is quite mystifying that we have ended up in this situation. What we have been asked to believe is: 'Don't worry; there'll be lots of jobs.' Well, I think taxpayers are entitled to more than just jobs; they're entitled to an export opportunity which should be grown out of this project in the whole of Australia.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Leyonhjelm ): The question is that the motion moved by Senator Xenophon be agreed to.

Question agreed to.
Q/ Is the term 'project of concern' code for dead, buried and cremated?
Is this yet another cock-up that has occurred under miniscule Chester's inept, ignorant watch..TICK TOCK 6D, TICK TOCK indeed... Blush   

MTF...P2   Tongue
P2 – “Q/ Is the term 'project of concern' code for dead, buried and/or cremated?”

One could be forgiven for thinking that NX, Gallacher and the rest of the RRAT committee have spotted the obscenity and spoiled the game. They have certainly followed the breadcrumbs on the Pie-in-the-Sky deal. That whole story needs to be stripped down to the bare bones and told to the voting public. Do we ‘need’ a new ATC system? We probably do but to justify the outlandish costs we need to see some demonstrated benefits; like an overall reduction in delays, particularly holding times and traffic movement increase. But above all the amount of money involved demands absolute transparency and the idea of progressively raising the bar until only the ‘right’ tenderer fits the profile must be prohibited – without clear justification for knocking out the contestants half way through. This means transparent tender documents which clearly define the game – before the entry fee is paid.

The real life project of concern is honesty and transparency in process; i.e. no more dodgy little side deals, winks, nudges, bags of sweeties or nights with someone’s sister as part of the game plan.  

Toot toot.
(08-30-2017, 05:04 AM)kharon Wrote: This short article from ‘Aerotime’ is worth a quick read through.  Canada and Australia fairly similar – in needs; the USA in furious debate, food for thought.

"Let’s go straight to the point – NAV CANADA has been a total success since its inception in 1996. Created after the wave of privatization in the Canadian civil aviation landscape, the non-for-profit private corporation became on November 1 of the same year the owner and operator of Canada’s civil Air Navigation System (ANS) by acquiring assets from the federal government for $1.5 billion. Twenty years later, NAV CANADA manages the movement of 12 million planes each year generating $1.4 billion in revenue and $37 million in net income (FY 2016)."

Further to the US debate, via FLYING mag:

Quote:Privatization Remains a Front Burner Issue
Alphabet groups support ATC modernization.
By Rob Mark September 16, 2017

[Image: august-atc-2.jpg?itok=8t1jgmbU&fc=50,50]Aviations groups once again call on the House and Senate to eliminate ATC privatization from FAA reauthorization bills.

Despite the lack of any discussion this week about the inevitable march toward an FAA reauthorization extension, six of the nation’s major aviation associations today voiced their continued collective concerns over the move to “hand over control of the nation’s air traffic control system to the airlines and other special interest groups.”

The AOPA, NBAA, GAMA, HAI, EAA and NATA co-signed two letters, one delivered to John Thune (R-SD), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the other to Bill Shuster (R-PA), chairman of the House’s Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

The letters speak to a lack of any industry consensus for the move to sever ATC from the rest of the FAA’s other areas of responsibility. Relatively new to the discussion of why the parties view this as a bad idea is recent information from the Congressional Budget Office that reported the passing of H.R. 2997 intact would add nearly $100 billion to the federal deficit.

Co-signers went on record again to support the effort to modernize the ATC system but without the Title II provision. The groups urged legislators to “move away from this divisive air traffic control proposal, which is fraught with risks and unintended consequences, including national security concerns and work towards passing bipartisan, consensus-driven FAA Reauthorization legislation.”

Oh well at least they're having a debate... Shy

MTF...P2  Tongue
Harfwit's 'Accelerate Me' program continues - Rolleyes

Via the iTNews... Wink

Quote:Airservices to outsource IT delivery oversight
By Justin Hendry on Sep 20, 2017 3:24PM
[Image: ImageResizer.ashx?n=http%3a%2f%2fi.nextm...80&c=0&s=1]  

But OneSKY supervision to remain in-house.

Airservices Australia will hand over control of its IT projects and programs to an external provider from November in a bid to improve its delivery management function.

The government-owned corporation is preparing to establish an outsourced project management office within its information management and technology group as part of its Accelerate transformation program.

The Accelerate program, which began in March 2016 in response to its first-ever full-year financial loss, has already seen significant changes to the organisation’s operating model, including the reintroduction of the CIO role, and the loss of as many as 50 IT jobs.

Airservices currently oversees its approximately $200 million annual spend on projects in-house.

It now wants a supplier to run the "day to day operations" of the IM&T PMO to support "program and project delivery, governance and reporting and delivering continuous improvement of the IM&T frameworks," according to tender documents.

The PMO will oversee the organisation's $35 million portfolio of 35 aviation and technology projects in 2018-19, more than ten of which are yet to be initiated.

A spokeperson told iTnews that projects include airport collaborative decision making, cyber security and the organisation's corporate business technology services modernisation.

However, the now billion-dollar OneSKY system overhaul with the Department of Defence, which will replace two outdated air traffic control systems with a single civil-military air traffic management system (CMATS) by 2021, will not fall within the PMO’s scope.

“Due to its complexity and significance, OneSKY has its own dedicated program delivery team and the accountable Program Executive reports directly to the CEO,” the spokesperson said. P2 comment - I guess Harfwit & Sir A don't want anyone to discover where all the OneSKY trough fund skeletons are buried Dodgy   

The spokesperson added that Airservices CIO Chris Seller will continue to have ultimate responsibility for the organisation’s IM&T environment.

The supplier will also take over responsibility for the delivery of the agency’s new PSM Framework, which will introduce good management practice frameworks for the organisation to govern and deliver programs and projects against.

Introducing an outsourced PMO aligns with the organisation's new operating model, which is "specifically designed to expand and contract in line with business requirements".

Airservices is also currently on the lookout for a partner to shift its current internally managed IT infrastructure environment to the cloud, including core compute, and to manage its fleet of almost 5000 end user devices.

Next here is another update to the US ATC privatisation debate, by Joan Lowy via the AP news:

Quote:Prospects for air traffic control privatization appear slim
[Image: 800.jpeg]


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has made airlines’ longtime goal of privatizing air traffic control a key part of his agenda to boost America’s infrastructure. But his prospects for closing the deal with Congress appear slim.

A House bill that would put the aviation industry in charge of air traffic control has repeatedly stalled and prospects appear even worse in the Senate, where there has been no effort to take up the issue. While the White House and airline lobbyists have pushed for privatization, there has been fierce opposition from private pilots, corporate aircraft owners and others who fear they will have to pay more to use the system and would lose access to busy airports.

Airlines have pushed for getting the government out of air traffic operations for decades and seemed to have the brightest prospects after meeting with Trump early this year. Trump embraced the idea as part of his overall plan to boost infrastructure — a big part of his campaign promise to create jobs. While Trump has offered few other specifics about his overall infrastructure plans, he put the spotlight on air-traffic privatization at a White House infrastructure event in June.

Three weeks later, the House transportation committee approved a bill by its chairman, Pennsylvania Republican Bill Shuster, to spin off air traffic control from the Federal Aviation Administration and place it under the authority of a private, non-profit corporation run by aviation interests, including airlines.

But the bill still hasn’t come to the House floor. Trump’s special assistant for infrastructure policy, D.J. Gribbin, told an airline industry conference last week that House leaders are planning a vote in early October. But the bill’s supporters acknowledge the vote would have already happened if there was enough support to pass it.

“We’re working on it,” Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Michigan, told reporters. “We don’t have all the votes yet.”

Lawmakers in both parties have expressed concern about Congress losing oversight of such an important, traditionally government-run function. The handover of about 300 airport towers and other flight tracking centers would be one of the largest transfers of U.S. government assets ever. About 35,000 workers would be affected.

Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, the senior Democrat on the Commerce Committee, which oversees the FAA, called the House plan “a classic case of a costly solution looking for a problem.”

“It’s an idea that went nowhere in the Senate last year and is destined to meet the same fate this year,” he said.

Airlines say the FAA has shown itself incapable of executing its plan to use technology to transform America’s air traffic system, saving time, fuel and money and increasing the system’s capacity to handle more planes as air travel grows. Part of the FAA’s problem is that the vagaries of the government’s budget process have limited the agency’s ability to commit to long-term contracts and raise money for major expenditures. Placing the system under a corporation that can borrow money against future revenue would lead to greater efficiency and more reliable funding, airlines say.

Many countries have separated air-traffic operations from their safety regulator in recent years, with most creating government-owned corporations, independent government agencies or quasi-governmental entities. The House bill is modeled after Canada’s air traffic corporation, Nav Canada, the only clearly private nonprofit air-traffic corporation.

Privatization supporters say Nav Canada has made smart decisions that have enabled it to adopt more advanced technology while reducing fees to airlines and other users.

But opponents fear privatization will give airlines too much power over the aviation system.

“This is a monopolization bill,” said Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-Louisiana. The corporation’s 13-member board, as outlined in the bill, “is definitely stacked to favor the big airlines,” he said.

The airline industry has faced the lobbying muscle of private pilots and other “general aviation” users in the past, and lost. People who can afford their own plane tend to be well-heeled and know how to get lawmakers’ attention. They are an especially important constituency in rural districts and states, where people depend more on small aircraft.
Opponents also have enlisted the support of several aviation heroes, including astronaut Jim Lovell, the commander of Apollo 13. Retired Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who landed an airliner in the Hudson River without the loss of a single life made a commercial for opponents, saying not to trust “the keys to the kingdom” to “the people who make your airline seats smaller.”

White House and airline officials have pushed hard, but say offers to adjust the bill to address opponents’ concerns have been rebuffed. General aviation groups have told bill proponents they fear that any protections in the legislation would be inadequate.

“We could literally never get past that concept,” said the White House’s Gribbin.

MTF...P2 Tongue
Airservices Accelerating towards disaster - Confused

In the space of less than two weeks and under Harfwit's watch we've had... Huh

Via the ABC:

Quote:Sydney Airport flight chaos continues as strong winds force more cancellations
By Mark Reddie and staff

Updated 15 Sep 2017, 3:42pmFri 15 Sep 2017, 3:42pm000:4800:00
Video: Flight cancellations leave travellers without options (ABC News)

Related Story: Passengers may wait days as high winds close Sydney Airport runways

Strong winds have caused the cancellation of up to 50 domestic flights at Sydney's domestic airport today, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.

Air Services Australia (ASA) said the conditions are not as bad as yesterday, when wind gusts forced the cancellation of about 100 flights and the airport was reduced to one runway.

There have also been delays of about two and a half hours for some interstate and regional flights.

Flights to Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast are affected.

While conditions are not as bad as expected, ASA said the airport is still trying to accommodate yesterday's backlog, and there are long queues at check-in counters.

"Sydney Airport is still working on a backlog from yesterday, so passengers are advised to check with their airlines if they're travelling both at Sydney and Melbourne because Melbourne will also be experiencing strong winds," ASA spokeswoman Sarah Fulton said.

Regional services to Dubbo, in the state's central-west, and Port Macquarie, on the mid-north coast, have also been cancelled.

US college students Jeanetta Griffin and Breanna Williams face missing a weekend-long surf camp on the Gold Coast due to their morning flight from Sydney to Coolangatta being cancelled.

The women were offered a late afternoon flight on Saturday, but have decided to try to find an alternative way to get to Queensland on Friday so they can attend at least some of the camp.

"It's super disappointing," Ms Williams said.

Nancy Baines was flying to Port Macquarie, on the New South Wales mid-north coast, for her sister-in-law's funeral.

[Image: 8948680-3x2-700x467.jpg]

Jeanetta Griffin and Brianna Williams' flight to the Gold Coast has been cancelled. (ABC News: Sarah Hawke)

The flight was cancelled and Ms Baines and her daughters Cathryn Jost and Jennifer Noakes were told there were no more flights to the region on Friday.

Quote:"We're not going to be able to make it. It's so disappointing, but you can't blame the airport," Ms Baines said.

"We're sad not to be there, but what can you do."

Two of the three runways were open this morning.

[Image: 8948770-3x2-700x467.jpg]

Nancy Baines (centre), with her daughters Cathryn Jost and Jennifer Noakes, will miss a funeral on Friday after their flight to Port Macquarie was cancelled. (ABC News: Sarah Hawke)

International flights are not affected, but those transferring to domestic flights are being urged to check noticeboards.

Yesterday, wind gusts of nearly 60 kilometres per hour led to the closure of several runways.

Up to 100 flights were cancelled, leaving Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar, Tiger and REX scrambling to reschedule passengers in and out of Sydney.

Some passengers told the ABC that airlines had said it might take days for them to get another flight.

& then today... Confused

Quote:Sydney Airport delays: How air traffic controllers responded to the system fault


By national technology reporter Jake Sturmer

Mon 25 Sep 2017, 12:28pm
[Image: 7170932-3x2-340x227.jpg]
Photo: The highly skilled controllers responded to the incident in a textbook way. (ABC News: Giulio Saggin)

Related Story: Passenger chaos as software failure causes Sydney Airport delays
Related Story: Life in the clouds: managing stress as an air traffic controller

With all of the chaos on the ground at Sydney Airport, from the skies pilots described "a ghost town".

Rarely do you see such little aviation traffic on a Monday morning in peak hour.

The ABC has been told the fault causing the delays related to a flight planning system.

The information from this feeds into the radar picture on controllers' screens — and without it, they can't tell which plane is which.

But failures in these systems — and the controller/pilot responses —are constantly rehearsed so that when they go down, everyone's prepared.

Video: Thousands of airline passengers are facing delays and some are not happy. (ABC News)

The organisation which runs air traffic control in Australia — Airservices Australia — has undertaken a major cost cutting program, leaving the organisation with 700 fewer staff.

It always maintained its decision would not impact aviation safety or frontline staff, but no doubt the investigation into today's incident will have to consider whether the cuts played a role.

The ABC has previously reported on radar faults in critical plane tracking systems at Sydney Airport.

Last year, the Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) system failed 15 times in one month alone, prompting serious concerns among air traffic controllers.

The WAM is one of several sophisticated surveillance systems which track planes in the sky.

But the failures meant that planes disappeared from one screen and were only visible on a slower updating radar.

[Image: 8980602-3x2-700x467.jpg] Photo: Passengers face long delays at Qantas Domestic Transfer following an air traffic control system failure. (ABC News: David Spicer)

Airservices Australia said it had several levels of redundancy in all of its systems and it is understood the issue has now been fixed.

The failures resulting in today's delays are not believed to be related to the WAM system.

While these delays are an inconvenience for passengers — the highly skilled controllers responded in a textbook way.

They constantly prepare for these situations, and it's a blessing that the failure happened at 5:20am, before the airport's 6:00am curfew was lifted and plane movements hit their peak.

As one controller said: "I've seen one of these before at peak hour and it wasn't pretty. It was probably 10-plus years ago. Failures of [systems] like this are extremely rare."
But when they do — they can have major impacts.

[Image: 8980972-3x2-700x467.jpg]

Passengers on board delayed QF506 were told they could not get off the plane if they had checked baggage. (ABC News: Lexy Hamilton-Smith)

In this case it's major delays — and aviation is underpinned by multiple levels of backup to ensure the failure of one single system cannot cause a catastrophic failure.

Ground delay programs were activated — which means aircraft at other airports like Brisbane and Melbourne remained on the tarmac while movement capacity was limited in Sydney.

For those waiting to start their holidays, it might feel like a pain but it's a far less damaging result than an accident.

Now some 'punters' may believe that there is no coincidence between these two sorry Airservices tales that have occurred under Harfwit's watch but personally I don't believe in coincidences..

P9 edit – I wonder how many of today's inconvenienced passengers would believe in ‘coincidence’ – has they followed Halfwit through estimates? Not too many I’d say.

MTF...P2 Cool
Wodger back to save the day - Confused

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's Wodger the weview wabbit back to save Hawfwit's cotton tail... Big Grin :
Quote:Flights grounded as air control glitch creates traveller chaos

[Image: f2e64c744126dc722c79fc59a1c1bf43?width=650]Airline passengers stranded at Sydney yesterday by a computer gltich. Picture: AAP
  • Annabel Hepworth, Olivia Caisley
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM September 26, 2017
Australia’s government-owned air traffic control operator is investigating the cause of a software “issue” that sparked chaos at Sydney Airport, leading to dozens of flights being cancelled and delays throughout the first day of the school holidays.

Airservices Australia said the major disruption happened after a software fault failed to convert from the curfew-mode operations to dayshift for the peak, meaning just one air traffic control console was working during the busy morning yesterday when there would otherwise be between six to eight in use. Airservices cut traffic capacity before the fault was rectified mid-morning.

There was a backlog of interruptions to flights because of the knock-on effect of the fault, with about 40 cancelled and delays throughout the day.

A huge queue snaked its way through Sydney Airport as thousands of disgruntled passengers, including many families heading away for the school holidays, queued for hours in a scene some described as a “traveller’s worst nightmare.”

Sydney operations manager for Airservices, Roger Chambers, told The Australian that technicians were now investigating the fault to get to the “root cause” and this would be done in “considerable detail” to “determine what we can do to improve our system resilience”.

“That’s already commenced”, Mr Chambers said, adding that it was a “high priority”.

“We were incredibly surprised it’s occurred at all, it’s an incredibly rare event and talking to my staff here, some of whom have been here for more than 20 years ... they’ve never experienced it in their time here.”

Mr Chambers said there was no power outage and “no loss of radar” but instead a “network problem” that impacted the way the system used the radar data.

He said there was redundancy in the system and that while it took “an hour or two” to work out the problem, to then rectify it was “actually fairly quick”.

“If this occurred again it would be fixed within a very short time frame,” he said.

The Australian Advanced Air Traffic System that includes the software was developed in the 1990s and would be replaced by OneSKY, the joint project of Airservices Australia and the Department of Defence to integrate their systems.

The skies above Australia’s biggest airport were unusually silent at peak hour yesterday after the Qantas had seven flights cancelled, including three Melbourne to Sydney return services, while Virgin had over 20 flights cancelled. Of the low-cost carriers, Jetstar cancelled nine domestic flights and Tigerair Australia cancelled four.

Robyne Johnston, whose flight to Brisbane was cancelled, was devastated to be missing time with her daughter ahead of her wedding on Thursday.

Ms Johnston spoke to The Australian from a lengthy queue for the Jetstar service desk.
“I only got a text message from Jetstar as we arrived. It’s just not good enough,” she said.

Laura Jones, who flew with Jetstar to Melbourne, said she was delayed at the domestic terminal for six hours.

“We were sitting on the floor for six hours,” she said.

Goes to show you can't keep a good Sociopath down, next question is, who will Wodger throw under the bus this time? Undecided

[Image: hqdefault.jpg]

MTF...P2 Tongue

Ps Just noticed in this SMH article - Investigation launched into flight chaos caused by air traffic control outage - that the ASA cock-up yesterday has turned political and the appointment of Wodger as weview wabbit would appear to have been officially sanctioned by Minister 6D (AGAD) Chester... Confused

Quote:...But federal Labor transport spokesman Anthony Albanese said the latest incident showed why the cap of 80 movements an hour was "necessary and is important".

"This is just them playing politics, and pretending somehow that you can get more out of Sydney Airport than is possible," he said.

A report into the outage will be handed to federal Transport Minister Darren Chester and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority once completed.
Satire, slur, slander and systems.

Ow! My sides hurt, too much laughing will do that, every time. Birthday bash for one of the troops last evening and the uninvited guest was our old mate Wodger, who stole the show. It was an innocent enough remark which kicked off the hilarity; Blind Freddy asked an ATCO we know WTF happened at Sydney:-

BF – “WTD was that all about yesterday?” (casual and curious).

ATCO – “It could be said that we are Accelerating toward another Senate Inquiry”.

BF – “That makes sense, particularly after the last round of estimates”.

ATCO – “Nothing to do with estimates mate; the same fellah who ran the Pel-Air audits, made all the necessary happen, triggered an inquiry  and then investigated his own team is in charge again.

BF – (incredulous) Naw! Not Wodger! - Shirley?

ATCO – “Yup, the very same”.

What began as a quiet drink with an old mate turned into one the funniest comedy shows ever; if, as they say, ears burn when folk are talking about you is true, then there’ll be some very hot ones floating about this morning. As most of it was most definitely slander, I’ll not repeat any of it here, leaving it up to the imagination of the informed reader to fill in the blanks.

But on the serious side – can you imagine anyone, barring Halfwit and 6D (AGAD) being silly enough to allow the manager of the branch to investigate his own operation? Particularly ‘that’ manager. It has to be a joke; or, a get ducked message to the RRAT committee; brave call. Anyway FWIW we all thought it hilarious, can’t wait for the ‘report’. But the complete mess ASA is in is not so funny and ‘accelerate’ despite claims to the contrary is having an impact. Ask any one of the punters waiting to board an aircraft at Sydney their opinion of the claimed internal savings made.  We may well be accelerating – but toward what? Aye, tis true – if you’ve time to spare – travel by air.

Toot - toot.

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