Air navigation and traffic service providers

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The Calgary Nav Canada Tower

The Calgary Nav Canada Tower

Air Navigation Service Providers / Air Traffic Service Providers

The regulatory function remains the responsibility of the State and can be exercised by Government and/or independent Safety, Airspace and Economic Regulators depending on the national institutional arrangements. Often you will see a division between the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) (the Regulator) and the ANSP (the Air Navigation Service Provider).

An Air Navigation Service Provider is the authority directly responsible for providing both visual and non-visual aids to navigation within a specific airspace in compliance with, but not limited to, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annexes 2, 6, 10 and 11 (ICAO Documents 4444 and 9426) and, other international, multi-national, and national policy, agreements or regulations.

An Air Traffic Service Provider is the relevant authority designated by the State responsible for providing air traffic services in the airspace concerned. Air traffic services is generic and can mean: flight information service, alerting service, air traffic advisory service, air traffic control service (area control service, approach control service or aerodrome control service), etc.

Both ANSPs and ATSPs can be public, private or corporatized organisations and examples of the different legal models exist throughout the world today. The world's ANSPs are united in and represented by the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) based at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands.

In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides this service to all aircraft in the National Airspace System (NAS). With the exception of facilities operated by the Department of Defense (DoD), the FAA is responsible for all aspects of U.S.A Air Traffic Control including hiring and training controllers, although there are contract towers located in many parts of the country. A contract tower is an Airport Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) that performs the same function as an FAA-run ATCT but is staffed by employees of a private company (Martin State Airport in Maryland is an example). DoD facilities are generally staffed by military personnel and operate separately but concurrently with FAA facilities, under similar rules and procedures. In Canada, Air Traffic Control is provided by NAV CANADA, a private, non-share capital corporation that operates Canada's civil air navigation service.

In the United States, some alterations to traffic control procedures are being examined:

  • The Next Generation Air Transportation System examines how to overhaul the United States national airspace system
  • Free flight is a developing air traffic control method that uses no centralized control (e.g. air traffic controllers). Instead, parts of airspace are reserved dynamically and automatically in a distributed way using computer communication to ensure the required separation between aircraft

In Europe, the SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) Programme plans to develop new methods, new technologies, new procedures, new systems to accommodate future (2020 and beyond) air traffic needs.

Many countries have also privatized or corporatized their air navigation service providers. Change in regulation in admittance for possible A.T.C.'s regarding their eye-refraction and correction thereof by technology has been proposed. FAA Control Tower Operators (CTO)/Air Traffic Controllers use FAA Order 7110.65T as the authority for all procedures regarding air traffic.

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