CANSO makes call to action to ensure the stability of the ATM industry
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, CANSO has called for immediate action to maintain the stability of the entire aviation system, particularly ANSPs.
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to plunge the aviation industry into an unprecedented crisis, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) has said that action is needed immediately to maintain the stability and resilience of the entire aviation system, and strongly urges states to protect air navigation service providers (ANSPs) from financial collapse.
The ATM industry is under severe pressure, with ANSP revenues directly related to the volume of air traffic they control and therefore extremely vulnerable to the dramatic decrease in air traffic currently being experienced across the globe.
Simon Hocquard, CANSO‘s Director General, said: “The current crisis has, unfortunately, hit our airline customers hard, but airlines deferring payment or not paying at all for air navigation services is absolutely not the solution. We need to make sure we do not create long-term damage to the aviation system and avoid one company’s solution being another’s problem.”
Hocquard continued: “Unlike the airlines, we cannot suspend operations and lay off a large proportion of our staff. We have to continue to keep our operations running safely, to keep our sectors manned in order to ensure the safe transit of aircraft including cargo flights delivering vital medical supplies and food. We cannot close our airspace, we still have flights to manage, albeit at a reduced level. The airlines and society rely on the ANSPs to provide a safe service when the traffic comes back, and so the ANSPs must be kept solvent as well as the airlines.”
In addition to keeping employees healthy and safe, many ANSPs are introducing operational measures aimed at helping the industry as much as possible – for example, removing constraints to shorten routes and maximise flight efficiency and deploying cost containment measures. However, a decrease in revenue could significantly impair their ability to safely and seamlessly handle traffic when the volumes inevitably pick up again.
Hocquard emphasised: “Air traffic management is a critical part of our national infrastructure and we must protect it. That starts by making sure we do not cut off the essential revenue stream that enables them to provide a vital and safe service today and, in the future.”
CANSO has urged national decision makers to enable financial support for the ANSPs, airlines, airports and handling agents, all of which would help to ensure stability and resilience of the entire aviation industry in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.