The third conciliation meeting between the Air Navigation Administration (ANA) staff representatives and the representatives of the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure resulted in a non-conciliation decision said the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure yesterday evening. 

According to the ministry, the trade union representatives did not want to accept the proposals made by Minister François Bausch to find a constructive solution to their grievances. The minister sincerely regrets that the unions did not want to continue the dialogue at the bargaining table.

The ministry said that the subject-matter of the dispute concerns the allocation of tasks related to the operation of the Luxembourg aerodrome. The certification of the aerodrome required by European legislation is a task of considerable magnitude which must be carried out within tight time limits. In this context the aerodrome manager is confronted with a long list of tasks and procedures which must be brought into conformity before 31 December 2017 in accordance with the provisions of EU regulation 139/2014 laying down requirements and administrative procedures Aerodromes.

In Luxembourg, the official designation of an "aerodrome manager" has been formalised with the implementation of EU regulation 139/2014. Prior to this appointment, an "aerodrome manager" as such did not exist at the Luxembourg airport and the various functions and tasks related to the aerodrome were carried out by several actors, mainly the ANA, Luxembourg airport company "lux-airport" and the Bridges and Highways Administration.

Having taken into account the interim evaluation issued by the experts of the Directorate of Civil Aviation and the recommendations made in an interim report, the Minister decided at the end of 2016 to appoint lux-airport as aerodrome manager instead of the ANA in order to improve the chances of success of the certification process within the deadlines.

The issue of funding is also a problem. The activities of the aerodrome are considered as economic activities and must be carried out by applying the principle of the market operator. Consequently, when an aerodrome manager receives public funding, the European Commission considers whether the latter constitutes state aid. It is therefore inconceivable to place a public administration such as the ANA in a commercial and competitive environment. Such an activity would even be contrary to the raison d'être of the public service, which by definition is neither profitable nor competitive.

Some representations of the ANA staff, challenging the Minister's decision, then initiated a conciliation procedure. During the three conciliation meetings, a number of commitments were given to the trade unions.

The state said that it would undertake to maintain the status of a separately administered administration under the authority of the Air Navigation Administration (MDDI), in accordance with its framework law of 21 December 2007 establishing the Air Navigation Administration. As a supervisory ministry, MDDI will continue to exercise its supervisory and oversight functions over the ANA, together with the supervisory authority of the Directorate of Civil Aviation, in accordance with the legal provisions in force in this domain.

Neither salaries, status, pensions and, more generally, the working conditions of ANA staff are affected by the change of aerodrome manager. The ANA will continue to perform all its functions and tasks related to air navigation services. ANA officials also have the option of continuing to perform aerodrome management tasks on behalf of the aerodrome manager while complying with the requirements of European legislation.