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Glacial progress of Seamless Asian Sky

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by TOM BALLANTYNE 

May 1st 2017

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Disappointment hardly describes the reaction of the airline industry to the very slow implementation of Seamless Asian Sky. Conceived nearly a decade ago as a solution to the region’s rapid air traffic growth, it was intended to standardize the rules that govern air traffic management (ATM) across the region. Read More »

Through co-operation and discussion each country also would make compatible and necessary ATM infrastructure improvements that airlines needed to expand. The program would have saved tens of millions of dollars annually.

Instead, the Seamless Asian Sky initiative has advanced at a snail’s pace, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) told Orient Aviation. IATA’s Singapore-based Asia-Pacific regional director for safety and flight operations, Blair Cowles, said progress on standardization was “glacial”.

A prime example of the situation is the rules governing separation between airlines in flight. In one country it can be five or ten nautical miles. In another 50.

Some countries are modernizing ATM systems, but it is largely being done with little regard to what the person next door is doing. Singapore, China and Japan are leading the way in co-operative arrangements. But these are the exceptions to the rule.

This is why ATM experts are pinning so much hope on a planned transport ministers meeting, set for the first half of next year in China. It has been confirmed to Orient Aviation that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is arranging a gathering that will, for the first time, allow airlines to present their cohesive regional ATM structure case to transport decision makers. Let’s hope they are heard.

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