Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation members agree on improved safety benchmarks

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Air navigation service providers that manage 80% of the world's air traffic have just voted to transition from a culture of regulatory compliance to focus on continuous improvement. The Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) says the vote, taken at its annual safety seminar in Queenstown, New Zealand, signals acceptance of the need for continuous safety standards improvement and a system for measuring it.

CANSO's membership voted in a standard for safety management systems, and a standard for safety metrics.

Secretary general Alexander ter Kuile says: "I want to congratulate the CANSO member safety directors on their achievement. Agreeing the safety management system and safety metrics standards is a tremendous advance for global air traffic management safety. For the first time, all our members - who control 80% of world air traffic movements - will be able to measure their performance in the crucial areas of runway incursions, and loss of separation. Our safety management system standard also offers air navigation service providers a tool to further their safety systems and ensure they are in line with International Civil Aviation Organisation standards."

Ter Kuile says the standard goes beyond the requirements of current domestic and international regulatory practices, but allows air navigation service providers to build a system appropriate to their size and operational complexity. The CANSO Safety Culture Working Group - having agreed the definition of a safety culture as it applies to an air navigation service provider - has set a target for all existing CANSO members to be measuring and improving their safety culture by 2012.