The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) calls on Asia-Pacific countries to collaborate toward having a harmonised air traffic control (ATC) system, similar to that of Europe and the United States.

Speaking to FlightGlobal, AAPA’s director general Andrew Herdman explains that such establishing a regional ATC body would boost efficiency of the air traffic controllers, and ameliorate worsening airspace congestion in the region.

He cites China, India and Indonesia as some of the worst affected countries in terms of congestion, describing the situation as “chronic”.

A harmonised ATC system would also alleviate the “long-standing conflict between the civil and military airspace."

“The challenge is to streamline the flow control [of aircraft] in a distributed manner. This requires close collaboration between the different countries. It is not just enough for everyone to modernise air traffic management systems,” elaborates Herdman.

“Technologies are available to get more capacity from existing airspace. The main problem is the bottlenecks… and when you get problems, be it industrial action or weather, they spill over and the service levels degrade rapidly.”

Herdman acknowledges that “it will take a lot of work to tear down old systems and start with a clean sheet like technology companies such as Facebook and Google”.

Some reasons for Asia’s lack of a common ATC system, he believes, are the diversity of the countries civil aviation regulations, as well as the “vastly different” levels of economic development between countries.

“Building another runway or terminal is the easy way, but it is not sustainable in the long run.”

Source: Cirium Dashboard