Board of Airline Representatives In the Netherlands

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Interview with Jeff Poole, Director General, CANSO 25 Mar.13

ATN: What are the targets of CANSO under your leadership?
JP: My main target is to turn CANSO into a highly effective and efficient organisation that delivers in its own right, but most importantly delivers the vision of transformed global ATM. A significant element of that will be to work in close partnership with ICAO, States, regulators and our industry partners such as ACI and IATA. The overall theme is therefore to deliver improved performance.
In order for CANSO to be an effective global voice for the ATM industry it needs to well resourced. Compared to the other air transport trade associations we are very small. I am therefore looking at ways to generate revenues for CANSO. The first such revenue generator was the highly successful inaugural World ATM Congress in February. We have also launched Flightyield, an innovative billing, collection and revenue management system for air navigation service providers, and we are exploring other ideas at the moment.

ATN: What is the position of CANSO regarding the competition between the ANSPs? Is competition compatible with safety and regulatory requirements?
JP: Competition has enhanced countless other industries. There is already a certain level of competition in the industry. For example, there is competition for towers in some countries. We must not be frightened by the prospect of more competition but should see it as an opportunity. But the focus should be on introducing competition when and where it genuinely contributes to improving performance, not as an economic or political dogma.
With regard to the second part of the question, safety standards are already high in the industry and the same safety criteria and regulations will continue to apply if there is further competition in the ATM industry.

ATN: You recently signed a MOC with ICAO. How do you believe this MOC will affect the everyday business of ANSPs?
JP: Such formal agreements are the public face of the very real collaboration we have across the industry on a multitude of issues every single day. The MoC with ICAO creates a framework for enhanced air navigation safety dialogue, cooperation and information exchange. One outcome will be an aviation safety intelligence model – a shared safety databank that will further enhance safety in our industry.

ATN: What other cooperation agreement do you intend to implement/sign and what purpose do you think such agreements serve?
JP: Our primary objective in working together with our industry and governmental partners is to improve performance. Signing formal agreements is an effective way of recording the joint commitments and deliverables against which the signatories are subsequently measured. In that sense, the agreements provide the roadmaps that we use to plan our activities.
In addition to our agreements with ICAO, last year CANSO signed an agreement with IATA and ACI better to coordinate efforts for driving aviation systems improvements. The agreement covers the common priorities of safety, cost-effectiveness and sustainability. I will be reporting on progress made on the agreed set of deliverables at CANSO’s AGM in June 2013.

ATN: In the World ATM Congress many different organizations agreed to cooperate and agreed that the political will is the main lever for success. How can CANSO can put a pressure on governments? Why are they resisting cooperation?
JP: Simply put, by improving awareness and knowledge. CANSO and industry experts need to be stronger advocates of the benefits of the ATM industry and to educate government decision-makers on the key issues that affect performance of the ATM industry. For example, we can demonstrate to governments that State sovereignty of airspace need not be an obstacle to progress on institutional and regulatory issues.
The benefits of ATM modernisation are not always understood by those outside the industry so we must do what we can to help them understand our industry and why they should be spending billions of dollars on major infrastructure improvement projects. One of the ways we can help them is by presenting robust business cases for the various stakeholders.
Also we have an incredible pool of expert knowledge in the CANSO community that we can see at its best and most effective in the various CANSO work groups on key industry issues and programmes. This pool of expertise is at the disposal of governments and decision makers. ICAO is already taking full advantage of CANSO’s knowledge and we are playing a key role in the formulation and implementation of policies and initiatives such as the Block Upgrades, the Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP). For example, CANSO presented working papers for the GANP that have been incorporated into the draft recommendations.
We are beginning to see governments move in the right direction. In many ways the Air Navigation Conference was a watershed. It showed that governments are ready to take meaningful steps towards achieving global seamless ATM. We should be encouraged by this and continue to apply pressure to get the results the industry needs.

ATN: CANSO Members are collectively responsible for over 85% of the world's airspace. Where is the 15%? What can you do to attract them?
JP: I am confident that non-members will see the obvious benefits of being a part of CANSO, particularly as we transform CANSO into an even more effective organisation and global voice. Bearing in mind that CANSO is a relatively young organisation in the industry (16 years) the membership growth is already impressive. In 2012 we added nine ANSPs and ten industry suppliers to our membership and in 2013 we have already signed up two new ANSP members. Our membership currently stands at 153, consisting of 77 ANSP members and 76 industry suppliers.

ATN: What can CANSO do the military zones? Do they cause problems for ANPs and what can it be done to overcome them?
JP: CANSO’s goal is to improve civil/military cooperation in order to improve access to military airspace, while still allowing the military to meet its training and mission requirements. For civil aircraft this can result in reduced flight time and fuel consumption and also reduced carbon emissions (particularly important in Europe where emissions will be charged under the EU ETS).
In order to achieve this, we need better communication, understanding and goodwill on both sides. A lot of good progress has been made but we have yet to exploit this to deliver significant and systematic improvements in performance. There are cultural differences; business model differences with airlines operating for profit whereas the military is mission-oriented; and a lack of trust with the military sometimes concerned that its ‘property’ is being eroded. These problems are exacerbated by different technology platforms with civil and military computers unable to talk to each other and language differences.
CANSO’s Collaborative Airspace Work Group has made great strides in breaking down these barriers and to ensure that both sides understand the benefits of working together. The Group supports ICAO in many of its civil/military seminars and workshops. It is also working on a civil/military best practices paper which will be ready for review by the spring of 2014.

ATN: What is the role of CANSO’s regional offices?
JP: CANSO’s regional offices coordinate activities at local and regional level, within the framework of policies and positions agreed at CANSO global level. For example, the European Regional Office has had an influential input into the implementation rules for the Single European Sky, and the Asia-Pacific Office is working with industry stakeholders on the roll-out of ADS-B in the South China Sea.

ATN: What role will technology play in the future of ATM? Is there an interaction between ATM technology and aircraft technology?
JP: Three big areas are automation, collaborative decision making combined with air traffic flow management and information management.
Automation will be the big technological game changer in the next few years. Aircraft have had automation for the past 30 years but ATM is now only really starting that journey. We will see more machine to machine interaction enabling us to fly planes closer together and build capacity. The challenge for us is ensuring that in the unlikely event of technology failure, controllers still have the ability to grab back the situation and control manually.
Air traffic flow management (ATFM) and Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) are areas which are already revolutionizing ATM. ATFM is the science of improving aviation operations by using up-to-date flight information to anticipate future traffic demand, and control flows of flights to keep demand within safe and manageable bounds. CDM demonstrates the value of shared information and cooperative planning. Together, they will result in reduced airborne holding; fuel saving; reduced emissions; increased predictability and flexibility for aircraft operators, ANSPs, ground handlers and airport operators.
The third big area is in information management. At the moment we are all sharing real time information but the various technical platforms do not speak to each other. Open systems, such as SWIM (system wide information management), where we are working with partners to develop common standards, will be able to provide any information, anytime, anywhere to the right user or system.

ATN: What will be the focus of next year World ATM Congress?
JP: It will inevitably be a follow on from the inaugural World ATM Congress 2013 in which the dominant themes were performance and working together. In that same spirit, CANSO will fulfill my commitment to report back in 2014 on what we have achieved since this year’s World ATM Congress. Last month we asked the industry leaders what they wanted from the ATM industry and they gave us a clear set of challenges. I want CANSO to be assessed by what we agreed to do. If Madrid 2013 was about ‘moving to a transformed global ATM system’, Madrid 2014 will be about delivering it.

ATN: What are the present challenges for Air Navigation Service Providers?
JP: The greatest challenge faced by aviation today is the future. It is a future that will see increasing demand, air traffic expected to double by 2030, mounting congestion, tighter environmental constraints, and escalating demands on scarce resources including airspace, land use around airports and even frequency spectrum.
The biggest challenge for CANSO is to turn the talk of global harmonisation into reality. You will hear more about how we make this happen at the CANSO AGM in June.
The biggest challenge for ANSPs is accepting and embracing change. We all know it is not easy but I am determined to drive through the changes that will help improve efficiency, cost effectiveness, safety and performance.

ATN: Has the current economic downturn influence your work, your goals, your members’ work and in what ways?
JP: The downturn has been tough on ANSPs, which are under pressure to keep charges down in the face of reduced traffic. This is particularly true in Europe where performance targets have replaced previous cost-recovery mechanisms. Overall though, the economic downturn highlights the importance of improved performance and cost efficiency at global, regional and local level which is at the very heart of the Vision and Mission of CANSO and its members.