CANSO in Bali – Think, Love, Act 


Bali was the scene of a hive of CANSO activities from 10 to 13 July for the CANSO Asia Pacific Conference 2023, hosted by AirNav indonesia. The feedback from members confirmed the palpable buzz in the air.  

THINK Research facilitated the first ever brainstorming retreat for the Asia Pacific ANS leadership. The objective was to make the regional whole greater than the sum of its parts.  In small groups, the participants had an intimate conversation about various regional issues such as making procurement easier, cost and information sharing, business continuity, and flexible operations. The conclusion was a shortlist of potential collaboration projects.  

The Asia Pacific Safety Work Group, Operations Work Group and the Global ATFM Work Group also met in Bali. There was active participation on a range of thought-provoking topics, facilitated by subject matter experts.  

The conference in the middle of the week was a high point. Through a one-on-one interview Alex Bristol, CANSO Chair and CEO Skyguide, provided his perspective on a range of topics, from his professional development to managing an ANSP to ATM digitalisation. The panel on regional ATM had FAA and ATMB talking about the role of leadership to achieve an ATM regional framework. We heard views from IFATCA, IFALPA, and academia on a panel on innovation and human resource development. On the ATM digitalisation panel, we had ATM technology companies suggesting how a system of systems could be the way forward.  

The diversity of views provided much food for thought.  The abiding message seems to be that regional ATM needs transparency and regularity which can be achieved through innovation and technology.  

The buzz of aspiration abounds. 

The Bali week not only achieved a meeting of minds, but there was also a renewal of effective connection. There was a record turn-out for the conference and social events. Several members also took the opportunity to hold bilateral meetings at the side.  

Personally, I was very pleased to catch up with several friends before the programme even started. I had an opportunity to practise my Mandarin over dinner with ATMB. Pak Bambang of AirNav Indonesia took me to a wonderful restaurant at Seminyak. DCA Myanmar presented me with a memento for the conference. MACL offered me a pleasant surprise. President AirNav Indonesia, Ibu Polana’s opening of the conference was especially significant. She had to catch the flight at 4am from Jakarta to be there. The heart-warming part was when Ibu Polana addressed me as her “best friend” in her speech.  

The pool side reception at the conference hotel and the gala dinner at Taman Bhagawan were both exhilarating. In the usual Asian way, there were no hugs and kisses, but the warmth was no less. Wearing the traditional Balinese accessories, participants could be seen beaming with joy over dinner. The evening was filled with endless conversation, music, and dancing. The vibes were electric. 

The social programme organised by AirNav Indonesia brought us even closer together, chatting and snapping photos in our shorts and T-shirts.  The glorious sunset at Uluwatu provided the perfect end to a breathtaking week. 

The buzz of affinity abounds.  

For me, the best outcome from Bali is a recognition that we need to go beyond just talking, and to start doing.  Simon Hocquard, Director General, CANSO, suggested to the regional leadership that we should regularise collaboration in a more structured framework. Han Kok Juan, Director-General CAAS and Chairman APC3, challenged the conference to take the next concrete step beyond the cognitive level. This point was reiterated during various other discussions.  There are follow-ups.

The leadership retreat was a start. The ideas from the retreat and conference will be further analysed and crystalised in an Asia Pacific Regional ATM White Paper.  

In parallel, an Asia Pacific ANSP Committee met in Bangkok in April and established four work groups. The region needs to leverage multiple prongs of effort. The ideas generated for the White Paper will be inputs into the work groups. While the CANSO retreat was thinking focused, the work groups were action oriented. Harnessing the energy and will to improve, we can make the regional activities mutually-reinforcing. There are more opportunities for regional interaction ahead. The signs of emerging activism for regional ATM are encouraging.  

Invariably, ANS matters have a policy dimension. For instance, the turning point for the massive ATC delays in Europe in the 1980s was the European Transport Ministers conference in June 1988. This led to the political green light for centralised ATFM in Europe.  

Asia Pacific will have its own kind of challenges ahead which are multifaceted. They cannot be tackled just at the two-dimensional level of operations and technology. Action also need alignment at the policy level. The coherence of operations, technology, and policy is empowering. We shall then soar.

The buzz of activism abounds.

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