Airspace Q3 2018: Answering regional needs

11 September 2018

Javier Vanegas, Director Latin America and Caribbean Affairs, CANSO, examines the collaborative efforts that are improving safety and service levels in the region.

All air navigation service providers (ANSPs) in the Latin America and Caribbean region strive to offer world-class service. Of course, each airspace is unique. However, it is necessary that for each phase of flight ANSP customers receive a consistent, high-quality service that meets their expectations and requirements so that the transition from one airspace to another is almost seamless.

With air traffic expected to rise significantly in the Latin America and Caribbean region, ANSPs at a regional level are working individually and with each other to boost efficiency, improve operational safety and support the development of Latin America and the Caribbean generally.

For example, in October 2017, Brazilian ANSP, DECEA, implemented performance-based navigation (PBN) in the Southern region and in the entrance to the west sector of TMA-Sao Paulo, resulting in 350 routes with new PBN procedures. Airports in the south are also complying with required navigation (RNAV) and PBN procedures. These developments have brought significant improvements to the operational effectiveness of air traffic management.

By the same token, Mexican ANSP, SENEAM, published 211 new PBN procedures in 2017 and is designing new PBN procedures for ten more airports to be published in 2018.

And in July 2018, CANSO supported and organised the third ICAO/IATA/CANSO PBN Harmonisation, Modernisation and Implementation Meeting for the North American, Caribbean and South American regions. The meeting analysed and agreed to optimise 34 regional/interregional RNAV routes, enhancing the regional route structure.

All changes should be published in the Aeronautical Information Regulation and Control (AIRAC) cycle of 8 November 2018, entering into effect on 31 January 2019. This meeting is an excellent example of collaboration and coordination having a positive impact on air navigation safety and efficiency in the region.

CADENA participation

And the region is making good progress with its collaborative efforts in air traffic flow management (ATFM). The CANSO ATFM Data Exchange Network for the Americas (CADENA) implementation group is increasing its regional participation. We recently welcomed the ANSP of Colombia, Aerocivil, as a member of CADENA.

While developing PBN procedures in Argentina and following close collaboration between EANA and DECEA, it was calculated that about 420 flights cross Argentina's borders with Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay daily. Working towards overcoming barriers and coordinating a seamless airspace is in everyone´s interest. Therefore, in the first regional ANSP meeting held in Puerto Iguazu in April 2017, EANA, DECEA, Paraguay and Uruguay suggested supporting a regional ATFM centre.

The measures described above are a clear indication that regional ANSPs are working hard to transform ATM performance. Nonetheless, these measures also depend on the ability of an ANSP to make decisions and reach autonomy. ANSPs are heavily investing in modernising their air navigation infrastructure on the ground and in the air.

ATFM in Argentina

As for Argentina, host of the CANSO Latin America and Caribbean Conference, the first half of 2018 has seen a notable traffic increase compared with the first six months of 2017.

EANA has made significant improvements in its services to cope with the extra demand. The implementation of ATFM within the Ezeiza Flight Information Region (FIR), allows EANA to establish the balance between demand and capacity of the air traffic management system, ensuring safety, and ordering and streamlining air traffic.

In the first phase, the ATFM service is being provided within the Ezeiza FIR airspace jurisdiction, maintaining the balance between demand and capacity mainly in the Buenos Aires Terminal Sector and in sectors or airports where it is known or assumed that demand will exceed capacity.

And at Ushuaia airport, EANA recently modernised its air traffic control tower and its operational building. Also, it published new PBN approach procedures for Mar de Plata, Puerto Madryn and Trelew airports.

Even here though, EANA's achievement on PBN was a collaborative effort across the region. DECEA supported EANA by introducing new capabilities that helped EANA's PBN design team to produce not only new instrument charts but also concepts of operation.

Business models

In the region, most ANSPs are still owned by States and the regulation and air navigation service provision still fall under the same umbrella. However, whether they are State-owned, corporatised, or part-privatised, ANSPs should be allowed to operate in an autonomous environment and be separated from the regulator.

There are many examples of this. EANA is a State-owned agency, and is separated from the regulator, and the State allows full autonomy. This has enabled EANA to move quickly into improving the service provided by Argentina into a world-class offering.

There is a lot to do, implement and enhance, but the separation and autonomy is a fundamental starting point.

Policymakers should consider the various elements of good governance that drive ANSP performance, including the separation of regulation from service provision. The industry needs all stakeholders at a global, regional and local level to work closely together to achieve the common objective of safe, efficient and sustainable air transport.

The CANSO Latin America and Caribbean Conference, hosted by EANA, takes place on 5-7 November in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Its theme is 'Innovation, integration and investment in air traffic management'. For more information, please visit

CANSO in the region

CANSO organised an interactive session on runway safety within the framework of the 9th ALTA Safety Summit. The session reviewed runway safety incidents videos and discussed mitigation strategies to prevent such scenarios from occurring.

CANSO is about creating value for its Members, and the CANSO SEANS-Safety evaluation supported and played a big part in the Safety Management System (SMS) certification for two CANSO Members in the region. The Dutch Caribbean Air Navigation Service Provider (DC-ANSP) and Instituto Dominicano de Aviación Civil (IDAC), of the Dominican Republic, were awarded the certificates by their respective civil aviation authorities.

The involvement of CANSO was important as DC-ANSP has been a participant in the EUROCONTROL/CANSO Standard of Excellence Measurement Questionnaire since 2016. The results of the questionnaire provided a measure of where DC-ANSP stood in its Safety Management System development. The involvement of SEANS-Safety was very helpful in gauging progress and ideas for improvement. The SMS certificate award was the end of one journey and the beginning of another which will lead to SMS excellence.

IDAC Air Navigation Directorate (DINA) learned many lessons from the SMS and senior management was committed to the process from the beginning. Throughout the implementation process IDAC made changes in its documentary sources and created new processes to ease SMS implementation.


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