As we discussed here on Friday, NATS is hosting the CANSO Global ATM Safety Conference this week – bringing together the world’s leading experts in Air Traffic Management Safety to discuss and progress safety matters.

One of today’s speakers was Jeff Poole, Director General of CANSO – the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation. I caught up with Jeff following his presentation earlier to hear his thoughts on why this event is so important and what he hopes it will help deliver.

So, can I start by asking you why this conference is so important to global Air Traffic Management safety?

As we all know, safety is the aviation industry’s number one priority and that’s certainly the case for Air Traffic Management, which is right at the core of aviation. But it’s not enough to just say that safety is our number one priority – we must implement measures that ensure safety. This meeting is important because it brings together safety directors from around the world discussing real safety issues, programmes and initiatives that will genuinely have an impact on improvements in safety in the future.

CANSO has recently launched their Vision 2020, setting out a strategic framework to transform global air traffic management (ATM) performance and deliver seamless airspace globally. What role does safety play in that Vision?

Safety is one of the key pillars of Vision 2020, consistent with us saying it is the industry’s number one priority. The important thing about 2020 is that it lays out the strategic framework on the way forward and is supported by a work plan with detailed projects, with deliverables and timescales.

There are 3 key safety priorities under Vision 2020. The first is to implement a CANSO Safety Strategy that drives safety performance through industry collaboration and a success-based approach globally.

Secondly, there is an initiative to develop further SMS (Safety Management System) guidance and tools to assist ANSPs in the transition to an increasingly automated service delivery.

And thirdly, there is a need to develop and implement common definitions of predictive measures of operational safety risk, as well as positive safety performance metrics that drive real safety improvement across the industry.

Jeff Poole

Jeff Poole – CANSO Director General

I understand you recently returned from the ICAO Assembly; how does this week’s event link to the global safety work of ICAO?

ICAO is the organisation of States around the world and sets really the overall aviation requirements – in very simple terms we say that ICAO and the States determine the ‘what’, CANSO and the industry determine and implement the ‘how’ for ATM. So, the important thing about this most recent ICAO Assembly is that it approved a new Global Aviation Safety Plan and that gives ICAO a clear mandate to continue driving better transparency, collaboration and responsiveness in safety improvement. Basically the new Global Aviation Safety Plan identifies 3 key priorities:

Firstly, improving runway safety performance.

Secondly, reducing controlled flight into-terrain accidents.

And thirdly, reducing the number of loss of control in-flight incidents and accidents.
So, now that we have this Global Aviation Safety Plan, it’s up to CANSO to drive the implementation of the ATM aspects and we’ll be doing that on a regional basis, consistent with best practice and guidance.

What role do CANSO members play in driving forward the safety agenda?

CANSO members are the ATM industry and we need to take our destiny in our own hands, rather than having requirements imposed upon us. So, it’s incumbent that the CANSO safety community is proactive in coming forward with ideas that shape future regulations and future requirements in a practical way that improves safety, rather than being subject to theoretical and fragmented regulations from different States. Ensuring that there is genuinely a cohesive global plan that people can implement according to their own specific requirements and capabilities is very important.

And what are some of the key topics you hope will be discussed and progressed at this week’s conference?

There are a number of things being discussed this week. The Global  CANSO Safety Strategy – how we develop that so that we have an overall view;  enhancing  safety management guidance and tools; looking at issues like ‘just culture’; the importance of data collection and analysis that drives safety improvements – those sorts of issues. So a heavy, but very important agenda for the people that are here this week.


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