Guest Editorial

 The air navigation system (ANS) is a complex grouping of elements-procedures, equipment, criteria, facilities, and most importantly, people.When everything works smoothly, it is invisible-and this is how it was designed to be. The ANS comprises everything a pilot needs in order to get from point A to point B-from pushback at origin to pulling into the gate at destination. It involves the development of IFR procedures, designation of airways, location of NAVAIDs, frequencies, classification of airspace, ATC procedures, weather services, and dissemination of aeronautical information.

Although the responsibility for the provision of air navigation services was transferred to NAV CANADA in 1996, the Minister of Transport remains accountable for the safety oversight of the ANS.

The National Operations Branch in Transport Canada (TC) is responsible for the safety oversight of all air navigation service providers.This is accomplished by conducting monitoring activities, inspections and audits with the aim of verifying compliance with Parts VIII, IV and VI of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs). Beginning in 2007, this will also include the assessment and validation of the air navigation service providers’safety management systems (SMS).

In addition to the regulatory inspections, the Branch also participates, through a partnership approach with NAV CANADA, on a safety oversight committee where we provide early identification of any potential safety issues. Whenever NAV CANADA plans to reduce or terminate the level of service at a location, they conduct an aeronautical study that is reviewed by TC to satisfy ourselves that there will not be an unacceptable increase in risk as a result of the action. The classification and structure of Canadian airspace are regulated; however, NAV CANADA is responsible for the planning and management of airspace-therefore, if they need to change the classification or structure of a given segment of airspace, the Minister must approve the action.

NAV CANADA has led the world in the area of satellite navigation, life-cycle maintenance of Communications/Navigation/Surveillance (CNS) and air traffic management (ATM) systems, human factors awareness in ATC performance, and non-punitive occurrence reporting, also in the area of ATC.

Canada has an ANS with a safety record that is one of the best in the world. That doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen without hard work, dedication and commitment on the part of the service provider and the regulator. Since NAV CANADA recently celebrated their 10th anniversary, it is appropriate at this time to congratulate them and to say that we look forward to another 10 years of partnership and to the refinement of an SMS approach to operating an ANS.

Jennifer J.Taylor
Director
National Operations

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