Global Air Navigation Priorities
New and Emerging Activities
Technical Cooperation and Assistance Projects (TCB)
Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP)
The 2014-2016 Global Air Navigation Plan, endorsed by the 38th Session of the Assembly, is being implemented as a high-level policy document on air navigation capacity and efficiency as well as a planning and implementation document for use at the global, regional and State level.
The GANP introduces the concept and content for the aviation system block upgrades (ASBUs) and provides for specific priorities in the areas of performance-based navigation (PBN), continuous climb operations (CCO) and continuous descent operations (CDO).
Early work for the next revision of the GANP is already under way but no major revision is expected. More particularly, the next revision in 2016 will likely focus on some course corrections on the current ASBUs with an addition of a new block upgrade for the 2019 revision. There is also some expectation that air traffic flow management in congested airspace may become one of the priorities for the next triennium.
Establishment of the PBN Programme Office
On 1 October, a PBN Programme Office was formally established within the Air Navigation Bureau. This organizational change recognizes that PBN is the highest priority for air navigation due to the immediate significant benefits it provides as well as being one of the primary foundations for global airspace improvements in the longer term. By creating this office, there is a now a single ICAO focal point to facilitate and oversee the necessary initiatives for global PBN implementation.
Establishment of the African Flight Procedures Programme (AFPP)
Building on the success of the Asia Pacific example, ICAO fully established an African Flight Procedures Programme Office in Dakar, Senegal, in June. Over twenty countries have signed the Programme Document as an Active Participating State, and a Steering Committee has been established to oversee the work. The AFPP will focus on enhancing sustainable instrument flight procedure capability within the African States.
ICAO/IATA GO-Team Visits
The Phase II schedule of the ICAO/IATA Go-Team programme was concluded in 2014 with the completion of visits to the United Arab Emirates (January) and China (June/July). These visits focused on PBN airspace design and PBN Operations approval, and on increased personnel knowledge and capability, and led to specific airspace implementation initiatives.
PBN Revenue Generating Programme
As a result of a change in ICAO’s policy regarding revenue generation, ANB has developed a PBN Revenue Generation Plan that offers States certain products and services at cost that will assist them with PBN implementation. This suite of PBN products and services covers the full range of near- and medium-term implementation needs of States and aviation stakeholders. ICAO considers the provision of these PBN product and service offerings to be essential in light of the doubling of international air transport traffic forecast by 2030.
New ICAO PBN Provisions
In November, new PBN provisions for instrument procedure design criteria came into effect. These provisions include:
Continuation of the PBN Study Group
Recognizing the need to continue with development of the PBN concept as well as the further evolution of the PBN toolset, the PBN Study Group was reconstituted with amended Terms of Reference. The PBN Study Group will be the expert group to determine implementation challenges and gaps, review needs and provisions, clarify and define performance and functionality requirements, and serve as the strategic focal point of all ICAO-related work, with the aim of assuring global interoperability and harmonization.
Airport Operations and Interoperability
Approval of PANS-Aerodromes; increasing aerodrome capacity
In October, the Council approved the first edition of Procedures for Air Navigation Services — Aerodromes (PANS–Aerodromes) (Doc 9981). The PANS-Aerodromes contains procedures to support and maintain operations of aerodromes, complementary to the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) in Annex 14 — Aerodromes, Volume I — Aerodrome Design and Operations.
The first edition of PANS-Aerodromes addresses priority areas revealed by the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) audit results. The procedures are expected to assist States and aerodrome operators to improve the certification of aerodromes. At aerodromes that are already certified, additional procedures, in particular those relating to continuing certification/oversight, are expected to further improve the level of safety. The procedures also address situations where compliance with the design provisions stipulated in Annex 14, Volume I, is either impractical or physically impossible. These procedures will help aerodrome operators safely accommodate larger aeroplanes at smaller aerodromes and are expected to improve overall system capacity and efficiency, in particular at congested aerodromes.
Aviation Frequency Spectrum
International provisions for radio frequency spectrum management, set down in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radio Regulations, are updated during World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRCs) held by the ITU every four years, the next of which will be held in November 2015 (WRC-15).
Preparatory activities towards WRC-15 are well under way. Aviation will have to compete with a number of other industries that are actively seeking an expansion of the spectrum available to them, resulting in ever-increasing pressure on existing allocations for safety and regularity of flight, and danger of interference to the aeronautical services using those allocations. In line with the results of studies within the ITU Radiocommunication Sector and ICAO, it is expected that some clarifications to the ICAO Position for the various items on the agenda of WRC-15, as approved by Council in 2013 (State letter E 3/5.15-13/57), will be developed in time for the conference.
In the wake of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 in March, a Multidisciplinary Meeting regarding Global Tracking was hosted by ICAO in May. In support of one of the recommendations of this meeting, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, the top policy-making body of the ITU, during its meeting in October and November, agreed to a resolution instructing WRC-15 “to include in its agenda, as a matter of urgency, the consideration of global flight tracking, including, if appropriate, and consistent with ITU practices, various aspects of the matter, taking into account ITU-R studies”.
In line with this new development, it is expected that the updated ICAO Position for WRC-15 will include a new item, in particular supporting the introduction of ITU provisions enabling satellite reception of existing SSR Mode-S Extended Squitter ADS-B transmissions from aircraft.
2014 Meteorology Divisional Meeting — Priority areas and initiatives for the next 15+ years
The Meteorology Divisional Meeting (2014) was held conjointly with the fifteenth session of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology from 7 to 18 July at ICAO Headquarters in Montréal. Divisional meetings concerning meteorology have typically been held every eight to twelve years in order to enable ICAO and WMO to maintain the alignment of their respective work programmes and long-term strategies for aeronautical meteorology. Consistent with the air transport modernization strategy put forward in ICAO’s Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP), recommendations were formulated at the Divisional Meeting on the continued evolution of existing services relating to volcanic ash and radioactive release into the atmosphere, the provision of global forecast information for flight planning and information concerning hazardous en-route weather. The need for new services was also emphasized in the areas of space weather information and to support the future trajectory-based operations and other air traffic management initiatives.
An overall restructuring of the provisions for aeronautical meteorology, in particular an improvement of Annex 3 — Meteorological Service for International Air Navigation provisions and the development of a new Procedures for Air Navigation Services relating to meteorology (PANS-Meteorology), was also recommended, consistent with Assembly Resolution A38-11. Such new and improved ICAO provisions will better serve the needs of States in the transition to a globally interoperable, fully harmonized global air traffic management system supported by system-wide information management. A number of institutional issues which will accompany such a transition over the coming years were also addressed by the meeting, including the undertaking of a review and update of the Working Arrangements between ICAO and WMO (Doc 7475).