CANSO APAC Conference Needs You


Grab is a ride-hailing app widely used in Southeast Asia.  Recently, I was attending some meetings at a regional city, and I scheduled a ride in advance using Grab. To my disappointment, the driver cancelled the ride half an hour before the appointed time, and I was blamed for no-show. Not losing faith in shared services made so convenient by digitalisation, I scheduled a ride again for the next morning. Once again, the same fiasco happened, and the driver cancelled before the scheduled time.  I was made to pay a no-show fee before I could use the app again. Two occurrences in a row were too much of a coincidence. Through interactions with the locals, I realise that the perception of time varies in different cultures. The same technology can bring different results in different places.

Various cultural shades of grey are also seen in aviation. The compliance rates to Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) measures vary greatly in this region. For ATFM to work well, flight plans must be filed sufficiently early. Different jurisdictions have different practices, and this is one contributing factor to varying compliance to ATFM measures.  This affects ATFM effectiveness. 

In The Culture Map, Erin Meyer provides a guide to navigating the cultural minefield in international business. For instance, reading between the lines is expected more often in some places than others. Meyer makes a distinction between high-context and low-context communication. High-context communication takes place within a group with a long-shared history. It is how a couple who have been married for a long time can understand each other a lot with minimal exchanges. How trust is built up is also different between task-based and relationship-based cultures. The former relies on cognitive trust based on a person’s accomplishments and reliability. The latter prioritises affective trust based on shared experiences, including socialising together. 

The CANSO Asia Pacific Conference 2024 is being held in July in Chengdu. It will focus on the recently published Asia Pacific ATM White Paper. Think Research who did the study with CANSO will be discussing this subject. The ATM technology companies and ANSPs will have a chance to contribute their insights. Besides the main conference, the Asia Pacific CANSO CEO Committee, the Asia Pacific ANSP Committee, the Asia Pacific Operations Work Group and Safety Work Group are also meeting in Chengdu in the same week. 

The region’s ATM development needs to keep pace with the Asia Pacific Seamless ANS Plan and Beijing Declaration. The White Paper’s key recommendation to mitigating this challenge is to build a regional ATM community through digital solutions. Moving more to a service-based operating model is one option. There are services in communications, navigation, surveillance, and automation that can be delivered through service agreements. A service-based model reduces the burden of procurement, training, maintenance, and cyber security. Going beyond managed services, virtualisation can allow more advanced operational collaboration. There are less boundaries in the digital space. One application of cross-border virtualisation in the Asia Pacific is virtual ATFM as a service over the cloud. To ensure governance and accountability, the ATFM process can be supervised by a multilateral governing board.   

There are many technical possibilities through digital innovations. However, the hesitation in cross-border work is normally due to insufficient trust. For instance, the region still does not have a platform to share information despite CANSO offering a free-to-use operational information system. Understandably, collaboration is a human enterprise.  There is great diversity within the Asia Pacific. To build trust requires effort to bridge the cultural divides and this takes patience. It all starts with people to people interactions. It is no surprise then that the Asia Pacific Conference always comes with many social events. They matter as much as the intellectual discourse. 

The power of ideas is magnified when communicated with the right touch. The meeting of minds comes after the dance of trust building. When there is a fusion between technical innovations and cultural harmony, the result is extraordinary quality. To use the example of ATFM again, we cannot have quality ATFM when compliance rates are varying greatly.  Neither do we have the authority to compel compliance. Compulsion may be counterproductive when a consensual approach is more effective. Quality comes when compliance is internalised as a norm.

At the coming events in Chengdu, there will be no grandstanding or flamboyant conversations or fiery remarks. But in uniquely calm and collected ways, affective relationships will be built through deeper understanding and mutual respect. Your presence at the Asia Pacific Conference will enrich the event. If you care about cross-border successes, you will need this Conference as much as it needs you. 

You can find out more about the CANSO Asia Pacific Conference 2024, and register to attend, here. Attendees are strongly advised to register and start their visa applications as soon as possible, to ensure their attendance.