CANSO Middle East Conference Strengthens Industry Collaboration

30 March 2012

CANSO, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation, concluded its fourth Middle East Conference with an increasing level of collaboration between aviation stakeholders in the region and beyond.

More than 120 air traffic management experts gathered in Cairo, Egypt on 27-28 March, to discuss how to address common challenges by taking a collaborative approach within the Middle East as well as with Europe and Africa.

The CANSO event was hosted by NANSC, the air navigation service provider for Egypt, and opened by His Excellency Mr Hussein Masoud, Egypt’s Minister for Civil Aviation. “This conference represents a milestone towards cross regional cooperation and a stepping stone towards a single, seamless sky that is capable of exploiting aircraft capabilities,” he said.

CANSO Director Middle East Affairs Salem Jahdli noted: “Cairo is an appropriate location for an event which seeks to bridge three regions because it is widely considered to be the place where east meets west. I want to thank NANSC for their warm welcome and to Era for their generous sponsorship.”

The conference covered the ICAO Aviation System Block Upgrades, ANSP performance, the harmonisation of cross-border services, the Middle East airspace capacity challenge and the future development of air navigation services in the region. Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) from the region and beyond shared their views, as did high level representatives from Airbus, Emirates, Raytheon, ICAO, IATA, CANSO and Eurocontrol.

Enhancing Cross Border Collaboration
Mohey Ragheb, Chair of NANSC said: “As a founding member of CANSO in the Middle East and an active participant of various international aviation initiatives, including the BLUE MED Functional Airspace Block, NANSC is honoured to host this event and play its role in bridging three regions.” He went on to describe his vision for a single sky between Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

CANSO Chairman Paul Riemens added: ”Improving cross-border cooperation is essential for the delivery of CANSO’s vision for a globally seamless air navigation system. By bridging three regions and integrating efforts between all stakeholders, this conference paves the way to a safer, more efficient and cost-effective air navigation system.”

Speaking on behalf of CANSO’s European Members Massimo Garbini, CEO of ENAV and Chair of the European CANSO CEO Committee (EC3), agreed to establish a committee to ensure that knowledge and expertise can be shared between regions. “CANSO’s European members have a lot to offer, particularly in the areas of System-Wide Information Management (SWIM), performance management, Environmental management, ATCO training and Collaborative Decision Making,” he said.

Civil-Military Collaboration
Mohamed Khonji, Regional Director of ICAO’s Middle East Office echoed the urgent need for enhanced civil-military coordination. It was widely agreed that the flexible use of airspace is a top priority for the region. “Civil and military stakeholders must work together to improve ATM services and meet the needs of all airspace users,” he said, inviting delegates to attend a CANSO-ICAO civil-military workshop in September.

Middle East Airspace Review
His Excellency Moh’d Amin Al Quran, Chair of the Middle East CANSO CEO Committee (MEC3) and Chief Commissioner/CEO of CARC outlined CANSO activities in the region. His explanation that the Middle East Region Airspace Review (MIDRAR) seeks to deliver a streamlined, efficient and implementable airspace structure proposal was met with enthusiasm which culminated in resource commitments from Raytheon and Serco.

Working Together
His Excellency also commented on the increasing momentum of the Middle Airspace User and Stakeholder Engagement (MEAUSE) group, which brings together all aviation stakeholders in the region. “Bilateral coordination and further cooperation between all parties is essential,” he said, as he called on the delegates to participate in the group. Cairo Airport and the Egyptian military subsequently agreed to take part.

Call to Action
The conference concluded with a call from His Excellency Al Quran to develop a clear action plan and timetable, as well as for CANSO to lead the Middle East’s implantation of the ICAO Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBUs). A progress report should be presented at the next Middle East Conference in Amman, Jordan on 18-20 March 2013. “We must work together in partnership towards a win-win solution,” he said.

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