March 4, 2021

Caribbean Air Traffic Management

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Remarks of Director General, Jeff Poole, at the CANSO Latin America and Caribbean Conference, San José, Costa Rica, 6 December 2016

Introduction: the state of the industry

Welcome to Costa Rica for the eighth CANSO Latin America and Caribbean Conference.

It is always a pleasure to be in this exciting region. It is fair to say that things do not always move quickly here but I sense that CANSO Members have achieved real and building momentum in air traffic management in the region, particularly on safety, Performance Based Navigation and Air Traffic Flow Management.

I hope and believe that this Conference will build further on that momentum and encourage even greater participation and partnership. After all, these are exciting times for the air traffic management industry with numerous challenges and opportunities.

The face of ATM is changing; with new entrants to airspace such as commercial space vehicles, balloons and drones, or unmanned aircraft systems.

Advances in technology are transforming ATM; and changes in procedures and ATM practices are making airspace more efficient.

This changing face of ATM requires new, innovative thinking; business as usual is not an option, we need to anticipate and lead change and that is what CANSO and its Members are doing.

We also need to ensure safety and security throughout these changes. For example we take the cyber threat very seriously, providing guidance to Members and working with industry partners on solutions.

Importantly, these advances in technology and new procedures are helping our industry towards its goal of transforming air traffic management performance.

Of course this region has its own specific challenges and opportunities and I want to focus on some of these today.

Role of aviation in promoting GDP growth in the region

With a population of 580 million, this is a dynamic and fast growing region with huge potential. Although there has been sluggish economic growth across the region, a slight recovery is forecast in 2017.

The aviation industry plays a vital role in this by boosting economic growth. Traffic is forecast to grow by just under five percent a year over the next two decades, representing a doubling of passengers to 525 million a year by 2034. This in turn drives growth and jobs. Air transport presently supports 5.2 million jobs and USD 167 billion in GDP across the region and by 2034 aviation will support just under 10 million jobs – a USD 430 billion contribution to GDP.

Partnership to invest in infrastructure

With air navigation service providers (ANSPs) facilitating over two and a half million flights a year, the air traffic management industry plays a vital role in ensuring the region fully benefits from aviation. But growth in ATM cannot be sustained without improvements to infrastructure and modernising procedures.

On my previous visits to this region, one of my key messages has been that all parts of the aviation industry must work in partnership. So, it is good to see here today our good friends from ALTA, IATA, ACI and . All players in the aviation value chain depend on each other so we must help each other with our respective challenges.

One of our major challenges in ATM is persuading States to invest to modernise and upgrade infrastructure. I am therefore pleased that our industry partners such as IATA and ALTA are calling on States to invest in ATM infrastructure, focusing on the important role that ATM plays in increasing connectivity, enhancing capacity and improving the efficiency of airspace. Some States are strongly investing in infrastructure; for example, our host, COCESNA is seeing an investment of USD 75 million across the COCESNA States in the next five years.

Making the case to fund infrastructure

Governments tend to be far too reactive and inevitably struggle to play catch-up with traffic growth. The solution is for all to work together in partnership as States and all parts of the aviation value chain benefit from modernised and efficient ATM infrastructure. So, the case for ATM infrastructure investments need to be made by ANSPs with strong help and support from airlines and airports and the ICAO regional office and with a focus on system wide and economic benefits.

How to facilitate private and public financing and access to funding for long-term needs

As ATM investments have a long-lead timeline, they need long-term planning and stability. Yet air navigation services in most States across the region are subject to government budgets. To ensure predictability and facilitate access to funding, States should separate responsibility for providing ANS from regulatory functions.

There are good examples of this in the region, including: AASANA, Bolivia; COCESNA, Central America; CORPAC, Peru; DC-ANSP, Curaçao; DECEA, Brazil; EANA, Argentina; ECASA, Cuba; SENEAM, Mexico.

Such separation means that ANSPs can operate as normal businesses within a performance- driven framework. Investments can then be based on solid business cases supported by relevant stakeholders, making a stronger case for funding and stable, long-term investments. But States must develop robust implementation plans to guide funding priorities.

Leading operational excellence

Having talked about how our industry partners can help us face one of our major challenges, investing in infrastructure, I would now like to turn to how CANSO and its Members are helping our industry partners with their challenges.

The main requirement of States, regulators, airlines and airports is that we provide safe, seamless and efficient airspace. This conference explores how we are addressing this, reflected in the conference theme of “Leading Operational Excellence”. The ATM industry in the region is undertaking many operational measures that are transforming ATM performance and I would just like to touch on a few examples: environmental performance; performance based navigation; and air traffic flow management.


The ICAO Assembly recently reached a historic agreement on a global carbon offset scheme for aviation. There is therefore an even greater focus on cutting emissions to reduce the need for carbon credits as much as possible. While the ATM industry is not directly affected by the offset scheme, ANSPs have an important role in helping the aviation industry to improve its environmental performance through a range of operational measures.

Indeed, all the operational efficiencies we make serve to help cut emissions, reduce fuel use and lower costs and we will be exploring this more in the environment session later this morning.

Performance-Based Navigation

One such operational and environmental measure is implementing performance based navigation, ICAO’s highest air navigation priority.

The benefits of are well known but are worth restating: increased airspace capacity; increased airport accessibility; more efficient operations; reduced infrastructure costs; reduced environmental impact; and improved safety through more straight-in instrument approaches with vertical guidance.

I am very pleased with the progress that CANSO and its Members have has made in this region in implementing PBN and in seeking to ensure that not only are ANSPs capable in PBN but also that airlines accept PBN and have the appropriate avionics and trained crews.

This is where effective partnership and collaboration is essential. In April this year, CANSO, IATA and ICAO met to jointly agree eight routes for upper airspace across the region that

will harmonise an efficient PBN route structure. At the same time four letters of agreement were signed to improve cooperation between adjacent Flight Information Regions as well as agreements on reducing separation minima.

Following this conference CANSO is organising a three-day workshop to finalise the route structure for implementation. But, to keep the momentum on PBN moving forward we need to train more PBN experts and ensure we have the financial resources to make PBN a reality right across the region.

Air Traffic Flow Management / CADENA

Air traffic flow management (ATFM) is essential for managing and operating safe, efficient airspace. It helps regulate air traffic to avoid exceeding airport or air traffic control capacity and ensure that available capacity is used efficiently.

There are many components for successfully implementing ATFM capabilities and collaborative decision making (CDM) processes in the region and sharing information is one of the most important.

CANSO recently established CADENA – the CANSO ATFM Data Exchange Network for the Americas. Its main objective is to champion the effective use of ATFM in the region and encourage the sharing of operational information between ANSPs and stakeholders for a safer, seamless airspace.

I am very excited by CADENA and this region is leading the way for other regions to follow. It has the potential to improve the safety, efficiency, cost effectiveness and environmental sustainability of air traffic management, and marks a new chapter in the safe and seamless management of airspace in the region.

I know that Micilia Albertus-Verboom will be talking in more detail about CADENA shortly and we have a session on it just before lunch.


Finally, I want to talk about safety, the aviation industry’s number one priority. The conference programme reflects this with sessions on runway safety and how to communicate during an accident investigation and we will also hold a one-day workshop on CANSO’s latest safety initiative, SEANS-Safety.


This year CANSO launched a significant programme that will help ANSPs to assess and validate the maturity levels of their safety management systems. The CANSO Standard of Excellence in Air Navigation Services-Safety, or SEANS-Safety, is based on the CANSO Standard of Excellence in Safety Management Systems (SMS) and is aligned to ICAO Annex 19.

The programme provides renewed impetus for ANSPs to implement effective, measurable, safety management systems and standardise the elements of their SMS. Importantly, it

provides an impartial, standardised means of assuring and demonstrating ANSP safety management capabilities internally and to regulators and ICAO.

I was delighted that the first beta test of the new SEANS-Safety programme took place in the region, in Curaçao. The successful test has helped CANSO to refine the process and procedures and provides DC-ANSP with a roadmap to enhance its safety management systems. We will also be running a SEANS-Safety assessor training course here in Costa Rica after this conference.

SEANS-Safety gained good support at the recent ICAO 39th Assembly and recognition as an industry-led independent assessment tool for implementing safety management systems in ANSPs, and Wednesday’s one-day workshop for CANSO ANSP Members will train and inform participants about SEANS-Safety.

Runway safety

This afternoon we have a session on improving runway safety. The approach and landing phases of flight account for around 65 percent of accidents, with unstable approaches a factor in 14 percent of those accidents.

CANSO has been working with IATA, IFATCA and IFALPA to address this problem, jointly producing a new guide – Unstable Approaches: Risk Mitigation Policies, Procedures and Best Practices. It enhances awareness of the contributing factors and outcomes of unstable approaches, together with some proven prevention strategies. It also acts as a reference against which to review operational policy, procedures and training

I therefore urge CANSO Members to take full advantage of this publication when conducting runway safety initiatives and promote the material within your own workforce as a valuable tool for understanding the influence of air traffic control clearances on stabilised approaches.


In conclusion, this is an exciting and dynamic region with huge potential. Aviation wants to play its full part in helping the region reach this potential so we are asking States to help the ATM industry cater for the GDP-boosting growth in air traffic through funding ATM infrastructure improvements, long term planning and separating ANS services from regulation so that ANSPs can operate as normal businesses.

For our part, CANSO and its Members across the region will work to continuously improve the safety and efficiency of airspace through measures such as performance based navigation to ensure more efficient operations; air traffic flow management and CADENA to ensure capacity is used effectively; and SEANS-Safety to help ANSPs improve their safety management systems.

I would like to thank COCESNA for hosting the conference, as well as Aireon, the lead sponsor, and our other sponsors for their generous and invaluable support. Enjoy the conference.


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