CANSO calls for harmonised standards and performance-based regulations to help achieve optimal aviation performance

CANSO, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation, has called for harmonisation of standards and performance-based regulations to accommodate a rapidly developing global air transport market.

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Harmonization of standards and performance-based regulations

International Aviation Summit - Delhi

During the International Aviation Summit, Delhi, CANSO Director General Jeff Poole outlined CANSO’s position on developing a clear regulatory framework for the aviation community that will facilitate the safe introduction of news tools and technologies and ultimately transform the performance and capabilities of air services worldwide.


Building on his initial remarks during a plenary session on regulation and policy, Jeff Poole said: “If we are to modernise ATM infrastructure – and ultimately best serve passengers and our aviation partners – we need to ensure we have the right regulatory framework to do so.

A global industry requires global standards that will further help achieve the goal of harmonised airspace worldwide. We are therefore asking ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization) to advise standards organisations that their proposals should follow a standard approach to ensure global interoperability. This will lay the essential foundations on which to build strong regulatory frameworks at national level. ”


Air traffic management is often faced with prescriptive, inefficient and conflicting regulations that add cost and undermine the ability to innovate and perform effectively. Instead, it needs regulations to be sufficiently flexible to allow the safe introduction of new technologies such as digitisation for remote towers and space-based ADS-B, as well as new entrants to airspace like drones.


Jeff Poole explained: “We need a harmonised and consistent approach to regulation in ATM globally. CANSO is therefore calling for regulatory approaches that emphasise what must actually be achieved, focusing on agreed, measurable outcomes and placing more of the responsibility and accountability with the service provider in how the performance requirements will be met.”


“But there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for ATM regulation” he added. “There is a great disparity among States in terms of oversight capabilities, maturity and culture.”


CANSO therefore advocates an incremental approach. For States with a well-established regulatory regime, CANSO encourages the move to performance-based regulation (PBR) and the adoption of Better Regulation principles. For States that need to improve oversight capabilities, the first step is to implement capacity building initiatives that are both innovative and effective.


In summary, CANSO is asking States to adopt five key principles of better regulation; regulations should be:

  • Proportionate: Regulators should only intervene when necessary. Remedies should be appropriate to the risk posed, and costs identified and minimised
  • Accountable: Regulators must be able to justify decisions, and be subject to public scrutiny
  • Consistent: Government rules and standards must be consistent and coordinated and implemented fairly
  • Transparent: Regulators should be open, and keep regulations simple and user-friendly
  • Targeted: Regulation should be focused on the problem, and minimise side effects


Jeff Poole added: “We urge States and regulators to adopt harmonised standards together with a performance-based approach to regulation. This will truly facilitate improved safety and performance in air traffic management and aviation as a whole.

It will also enable regulatory frameworks to keep pace with the increasing pace of change since they will measure performance rather than the individual technologies, systems and procedures that are used to achieve it.”

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