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CANSO Urges States to Break Down Barriers to Transformation of Global ATM Performance

21 September 2013

Montreal, 21 September 2013 - CANSO (Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation) has urged States to play their full and vital role in transforming global air traffic management performance. CANSO proposes that States focus on three specific areas: better regulation; allowing air navigation service providers (ANSPs) to operate as normal businesses; and breaking down the barriers to global harmonisation. 

Speaking at the ICAO/McGill pre-Assembly Symposium in Montreal, CANSO Director General, Jeff Poole, said, “CANSO’s objective is to transform ATM performance, to enable airlines to fly in seamless airspace across ‘invisible’ borders. This is not just an aspiration, it is a must. CANSO’s Vision 2020 lays out a comprehensive strategic framework on how we are going to achieve this but we cannot do it alone. We are already working effectively with our industry partners but States also have a vital role to play. We can only go so far before we come up against political, regulatory and governance constraints that only States can address. We are therefore calling on States to help drive the transformation to seamless airspace globally in three areas where they have the capability to make the difference.” 

The three areas are: 

  1. Better regulation. The regulatory environment for ATM is complex and the industry is often faced with prescriptive, inefficient and conflicting regulations that add cost and undermine the ability to innovate and perform effectively. We need a harmonised and consistent approach to air navigation services regulation. Regulations should be proportionate, consistent, accountable, transparent and targeted. Specifically, we would like States to conduct a full impact assessment of regulations; fully implement the separation of regulation from service provision; reduce the number of regulators and oversight authorities; and reduce the sheer number of regulations but enhance their effectiveness.
  2. Allow ANSPs to operate as normal businesses. States should allow ANSPs to operate like normal businesses with a focus on the customer. Rather than relying too heavily on regulatory oversight mechanisms, States must consider the various elements of governance that drive ANSP performance. States should set the requirements and performance targets, but they must avoid the temptation to micro-manage the business of ANSPs. To achieve the investment required to modernise ATM, non traditional approaches (e.g. private sector) to financing need to be explored as, in the current financial climate, government funding will be limited. Investments need to be supported by solid business cases. States must therefore remove the restrictions that today prevent the adoption of business-driven approaches in ATM.
  3. Break down barriers to global harmonisation. Airspace needs to be organised, and air navigation services need to be delivered, in line with the operational requirement of airspace users rather than according to national borders. For too long we have suffered under the ‘one State – one ANSP’ model and we need to look into more efficient ways to service provision. States can delegate service provision to other States and designate a service provider to provide service coverage for a larger airspace. This is a responsible and effective use of sovereignty. And those States that have exercised their sovereignty in this way have reaped considerable benefits.

Poole concluded, “We are already working constructively with States on a broad range of issues, including the introduction of new technology and procedures and making better use of military airspace for more efficient routing, lower costs and reduced emissions. But they should now take a step further towards the realisation of a globally harmonised and interoperable air navigation system. States need to deliver an institutional framework that can support the transformation of ATM. At the 38th ICAO Assembly we are asking them to ensure that all decisions taken are consistent with the three focus areas of: better regulation; allowing ANSPs to operate as normal businesses; and breaking down the barriers to global harmonisation.” 


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