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CAD takes issue with the release of unauthorised, incomprehensive and inaccurate information
     Government attaches great importance to information and data security, and there are established guidelines for civil servants to follow in this respect. All civil servants should be familiar with the guidelines and be aware of the consequence of non-compliance. This is one of the cornerstones to maintain a quality, effective civil service with a high level of integrity. Like all government departments, the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) reminds staff from time to time through different means, such as memo or circular, to handle and keep with care all the official information they obtain in the course of their duties. A CAD’s spokesman today (November 28) said that the CAD issued an internal memo on November 26 to remind staff that improper use and/or unauthorised disclosure of restricted and confidential information may be subject to disciplinary action. Relevant guidelines should not cause worries or misgivings to staff, and there is no question of "the CAD suppressing its staff". It must be reiterated that the CAD understands that the public is very concerned about aviation safety and the operation of the new Air Traffic Management System (ATMS). Hence, the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Deputy Directors-General (DDGs) and the Assistant Directors-General have kept updating the public of the latest development of the new ATMS operations in a transparent manner through different media and channels over the past two weeks. With regard to issues involving aviation safety, the CAD will announce in a timely manner in accordance with established mechanism. The CAD however takes issue with the release of unauthorised, incomprehensive and inaccurate information, which may cause unnecessary misunderstanding.

     In reviewing the incident on October 27, the overseas independent consultant of the Transport and Housing Bureau (THB), National Air Traffic Services (NATS) of the United Kingdom, stated that, despite all endeavours by the CAD including issuing of internal circulars / reminder emails, inaccurate information of the incident still reached the media/public through unofficial channels and caused adverse impacts. In view of this, NATS suggested that the CAD might consider to further reducing the risk by reiterating staff responsibility with regards to external communications, including information provided to social media, as appropriate. Please refer to Annex F of the paper submitted by the THB and the CAD to the Panel on Economic Development of the Legislative Council (http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr16-17/english/panels/edev/papers/edev20161128cb4-154-4-e.pdf) for more details.

     In case CAD staff has any views on internal matters (including departmental operation), they should reflect them through established mechanism. If staff has questions whether the established mechanism could effectively channel their views, they can always approach the DGCA and DDGs direct.

     The CAD has always attached the utmost importance on aviation safety, which will not be compromised under any circumstance. As a professional government department, the CAD is tasked with managing air traffic, among other important missions. Air traffic management is a highly specialised knowledge and all air traffic controlling officers (ATCOs) have to undergo long-term and professional training before they can master relevant knowledge and skills to operate live traffic. It is hard for other people, even those professionals from other fields of the aviation industry, to fully understand air traffic management by relying on bits and pieces of information gathered from different channels. The professional ATCOs of the CAD would not put the general public’s safety at risk and connived at the operation of a system that does not comply with safety standards.

     The department regretted that individuals have repeatedly disseminated unfounded and/or incomprehensive information on the new ATMS to mislead the general public that aviation safety in Hong Kong has been jeopardised, arousing unnecessary misunderstandings and qualms. As such unfounded and incomprehensive information has also been reported by foreign media, this has profound impacts and tarnishes Hong Kong’s hard-earned image as an international aviation hub. All CAD staff have been working in a professional and pragmatic manner, including the launching of new ATMS. We appeal to the public to treat this serious task of CAD in an unbiased and evidence-based manner, and to respect the professionalism of CAD and all ATCOs.
Ends/Monday, November 28, 2016
Issued at HKT 23:46
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