Maintaining and improving ATM safety in times of cost-reduction

Posted: 22 March 2013 | EUROCONTROL | No comments yet

Pressure on air navigation service providers to maintain and even improve safety levels…

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Pressure on air navigation service providers (ANSPs) to maintain and even improve safety levels while simultaneously reducing costs is considerable.

On 21 March 2013, chief executive officers, safety directors and senior executives from Europe’s air navigation service providers (ANSPs) attended the 7th CEO Safety Conference, entitled “Efficiency Thoroughness Trade-Off”, in Slovenia. They discussed how to best tackle safety in operations during the 2nd SES Performance Scheme Reference Period (2015-2019) from a local, regional – in the context of Functional Airspace Blocks (FAB) – and network perspective.

Their presence showed how important it is to identify how operational safety and safety management can contribute to achieving sustainable business and to reinforcing synergies.

“Air Traffic Management is driven by performance in an effort to reduce costs, improve safety and efficiency, as well as to promote global harmonisation,” observed Jacques Dopagne, EUROCONTROL’s Director Network Management. He also pointed out that: “With the second reference period fast approaching, we face significant challenges. We need, collectively, to consider how cost reduction will impact our ability to maintain and indeed improve ATM safety.

“There is also a strong need to share service providers’ know-how and experience so that we can further improve the efficiency of the ATM business to meet the needs of our customers,“ he added.

The delegates concluded that the second Single European Sky (SES) Performance Scheme Reference Period provides opportunities as well as challenges; there are strong foundations in place to build on in order to meet both.

The delegates stood firm in their collective will to work together to achieve these fundamental objectives. They emphasised that Safety Management is a key prerequisite for the achievement of the other performance targets – capacity, flight efficiency and cost.

“We must be clear: safety is and will always be the overriding priority in aviation. Good safety is good for business. While we can make trade-offs to improve the collective performance of the ATM system, safety is a constant. Enhanced efficiency and future growth must go hand-in-hand with our ability to improve levels of safety. The challenges are considerable but I am confident that we can raise our game to meet them head on,” concluded Jacques Dopagne

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