These are exciting times for aviation in the Asia Pacific region. The region is expected to see the world’s strongest growth in international passengers as IATA forecasts a global increase of 31% to 3.91 billion passengers by 2017.
Asia Pacific therefore has the potential to lead the world in air traffic management as a centre of excellence and I am delighted to be part of the NATS team which has just marked a significant milestone in Asia Pacific by opening a new office in Singapore.
This is a timely and natural progression following the delivery of a number of projects in the region as we support growth in demand that last year increased at a rate of 7%, second only to the Middle East.
The Asia Pacific region provides many opportunities but the only way these can be realised is by collaboration – ATM providers, Airlines, Regulators and the different States themselves. Currently, there is little harmonization across flight information regions (FIRs), resulting in different levels of ATM (Air Traffic Management) infrastructure and capability, and uneven traffic flows. The ICAO is aiming to address this through what is called Seamless ATM, which aims to deliver the safe and interoperable provision of a harmonized and consistent ATM service over borders and across the whole region.
This is familiar ground to NATS, which has been at the heart of moves towards achieving integrated and harmonized ATM in Europe through the Single European Sky programme. We have learned many lessons along the way and have all of that experience to share – as well as our unique expertise in managing complex airspace and busy airports.
Through the introduction of advanced technologies and innovative business solutions, an integrated ATM system will enable ANSPs throughout Asia Pacific to enhance safety, capacity and operational efficiency to meet the future demands of civil aviation, as well as reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions. Furthermore the successful implementation of an aviation infrastructure will play a significant role in creating employment opportunities and building national economies.
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