In 2013 the Asia/Pacific embarked on a visionary process of modernizing the Air Traffic Management (ATM) system, and associated services such as airports, to match the capability of aircraft systems, as the region was facing unprecedented growth. The Asia/Pacific Seamless ATM Plan was a result of the Directors General of Civil Aviation’s Kansai Statement; itself a visionary document that set out firm commitments to meet this challenge for Air Navigation Services (ANS). Over the intervening years, a number of subsidiary plans in the areas of Aeronautical Information management (AIM), ATM Contingency, Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) and Search and Rescue (SAR) has been developed, that would support the Asia/Pacific Seamless ATM Plan. A monitoring scheme was also introduced, so that we could understand the progress of implementation.
In 2019 we now look back on the first phase of the Asia/Pacific Seamless ATM Plan with some concern. Despite
numerous APANPIRG Conclusions and DGCA Action Items urging States to conduct national planning and to
mobilise resources to implement the plans, the Asia/Pacific has failed to deliver on its promise. As a whole, the region has only partly-implemented the Aviation System Block Upgrade (ASBU) Block 0 from the Global Air Navigation Plan (Doc 9750). Of the ten priority elements identified by APANPIRG, the Asia/Pacific has failed to implement nine of those. Why has this happened?
There are many complex reasons, which will vary from State to State. However, one main reason is that although Director Generals have previously stated their commitment, the ’buy-in’ from all affected stakeholders has not been evident in many States. Even within State Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs), support may not be uniform when there isn’t enough effort to work across CAA Departments and senior management doesn’t monitor the progress of implementation at regular intervals.
This is why ICAO, at the direction of the Ministers of Civil Aviation as part of their Beijing Declaration (January 2018), have embarked on a process of formalizing the need for each State to have a National Air Navigation Plan (NANP). This is mainly to achieve a whole-of-government approach that also includes military stakeholders and non-government stakeholders and sets out certain commitments, including monitoring and reporting. The proposed strengthening of NANP requirements was discussed at the ICAO – FAA ASBU Workshop, in Bangkok, Thailand 29- 31 January 2019.
NANPs, as well as other national plans dealing with safety, security and facilitation etc., should all be linked together in a broader national aviation plan to ensure an integrated strategic approach at the State level. This broader plan can be considered as a civil aviation “master plan” addressing all aspects of air transport at the State level. The objective is to provide a clear and comprehensive planning and implementation strategy for the future development of the entire civil aviation sector in terms of policies, legislation, objectives, facilities, equipment, organization and capacity-building, emphasizing the importance of air transport for the economic development of the State. The master plan should be linked to the State’s overarching national development plan, in order to mobilize public and private resources and partnerships for the implementation of the plan and to strengthen the civil aviation sector. A clearly defined relationship between NANPs aligned with the GANP, civil aviation master plans and States’ national development plans will enable the prioritization and optimum allocation of resources for all planned projects within States and across all sectors of activity.
Note: the 6th Edition of GANP was presented to the 40th ICAO Assembly for endorsement by Member
States. For further reading click here.