The Future is in Our Hands

29 July 2014

The recently concluded CANSO Global ATM Summit with its theme on “Embracing the Future” has given participants much food for thought as to what lies ahead for ATM globally and in our respective regions.

Gazing into the crystal ball is one way to forecast the future. Another way is to extrapolate from the past but this is also fraught with uncertainty. After all, the future is not a reflection of the past and is more about what we do not know than what we already know. Therefore, if we truly want to embrace the future we must proactively identify and work on the unknowns to create the future that we envision. 

For ATM in the Asia-Pacific Region, embracing the future is about embracing positive change and if need be, creating the changes needed to ensure safe, secure and efficient management of air traffic. 

A good example of this is the recent initiative by CAAS to work closely with R&D partners to develop ATM solutions tailored to the region. Last year, it launched the ATM Research Institute (ATMRI) in partnership with the Nanyang Technological University. More recently, prior to the CANSO 18th AGM in Dublin, it signed an agreement with The MITRE Corporation to establish a joint ATM advanced technology research laboratory known as the MITRE Asia Pacific Singapore (MAPS) office. 

Creating the technology and processes tailored to meet the challenges of the region is one aspect of how we can shape the future. The tougher challenge however is establishing the framework and collaborative mind-set among neighbouring States and their ANSPs that would enable the new technology and processes to provide the optimum benefits that they have been designed to deliver. 

CANSO has a key role to play in this by bringing together the region’s ANSPs and creating the platforms for collaboration at both the global and regional levels. The rapid expansion of CANSO’s Asia-Pacific membership over the past few years bears testimony to the growing recognition by regional ANSPs that they need to work together to effectively handle future air traffic demand in the world’s largest aviation market. 

Someone once quipped that “For the Asia Pacific Region, the Future is Now”. Indeed time is not on our side. Given the robust growth of air traffic in the region, ANSPs here have to act now to secure the future of air transport and the economies that it supports. The centre of gravity of aviation is shifting eastwards but how the future unfolds for the region will depend on the transformation of ATM that can only come about from continuous innovation and collaboration.

Asia Pacific

About the author

HAI ENG CHIANG Director Asia-Pacific Affairs

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