How governments and industry can work together to transform aviation


Nico Voorbach, CANSO ICAO Affairs Director, provides insight into CANSO’s presence at key government and industry aviation forums including the 40th ICAO Assembly.

It has been a busy time for CANSO at the Fifth Annual ICAO World Aviation Forum (IWAF) and 40th ICAO Assembly over the past few weeks. As the global voice of ATM, CANSO has played a key role in discussions on aviation issues with ministers, director generals of civil aviation, civil aviation authorities, and CEOs and senior officials from the key aviation stakeholders. CANSO has also made valuable contributions to the plans and policies that will shape global aviation going forward.

Tackling innovation in aviation

Fresh from the ICAO Global Aviation Security Symposium (AVSEC2019), where experts from around the world discussed aviation security, CANSO joined the Fifth Annual ICAO World Aviation Forum to explore the theme of innovation in aviation and highlight how the ATM industry is addressing transformation and change.

During the ministerial roundtables, CANSO Director General, Simon Hocquard, demonstrated how the ATM industry has been at the forefront of technical innovation over the past decade (citing space-based surveillance, digital towers, predictive analysis etc), but that it needs the support of governments to remain agile and capable of meeting the demands of existing and emerging airspace users. Simon added that if we want to create an environment where innovation flourishes, the aviation industry and its stakeholders must work together to keep pace with disruption and consider appropriate solutions in different regions.

On government policy and regulation, Simon highlighted the need to address how the industry and the standards that govern it embrace change at the same time as maintaining safety. He said that the answer lies in governments getting involved – collaborating and problem-solving with the industry. This will enable the development of regulations that are proportionate, retain accountability, completely transparent and focused on what is needed.

Championing the ATM industry’s role in efficient aviation

Next, CANSO joined proceedings for the 40th ICAO Assembly. The Assembly is ICAO’s sovereign body that meets at least once every three years, convened by ICAO’s governing body – the Council. ICAO’s 193 Member States and a large number of international organisations, including CANSO, are invited to the Assembly, which establishes global policy for the next three years.

During the Assembly, representatives of States and the aviation industry discuss a range of working papers that encapsulate the industry’s recommendations to States and ICAO for improving performance in the industry.

CANSO submitted four working papers to the Assembly on cyber resilience, building capacity in ATM, efficiency in ATM through RNP and ensuring future services through adherence to key principles and mutual values. All four papers were ratified by those gathered. In addition, CANSO highlighted its commitment to working with the industry on transforming aviation performance by co-signing and submitting 11 papers with industry partners on key issues like the environment and operational efficiency.

Recognising the power of partnership

The launch of the second edition of the Aviation Benefits Report was a further example of how CANSO is committed to working with the industry to realise its potential. Endorsed by CANSO Director General, Simon Hocquard, together with Angela Gittens (Director General, ACI), Alexandre de Juniac (Director General, IATA), Dr. Fang Liu (Secretary General, ICAO) and Eric Fanning (Chairman, ICCAIA) during the event, the report outlines the social and economic benefits that together the aviation industry is delivering and how the industry will continue to develop to meet demand.

Our journey ahead

While these industry stakeholder events have been invaluable in reaching a common understanding of the challenges that face both governments and industry with regards to aviation, they also provided a timely opportunity for CANSO to highlight how ATM is rising to meet these challenges in a key strategic forum. We demonstrated how ATM is tackling important issues and how we are committed to being a strong and reliable partner – and ultimately we showed we’re ready to take on the mission of transforming aviation, and securing safe, efficient and sustainable aviation both now and in the future.

And the work doesn’t stop there. The CANSO ICAO Affairs team in Montreal will continue to be proactively involved in the governance of aviation and providing the ATM view, and I urge both members and the industry to take advantage of the strong network and representation that CANSO has to offer.