Regulatory Framework in ATM

Regulatory Framework in ATM

43RD ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Hong Kong, China (SAR), 22-26 March 2004

WP No. 157

Regulatory Framework in ATM


IFATCA President and CEO proposed the subject matter during Cancun 2002 Conference. It addresses the concerns related to ATM service provision in a commercialised/privatised environment in the absence of a well-established regulatory model. The subject has been expanded and the title changed to “Regulatory Framework in ATM”. After wide discussion, Committee C tasked SC4 again to develop a WP more pointed to “Regulatory Framework”, but also with a more general view, to address concerns of those MAs where ANSP’s are not commercialised/privatised and that are defending the concept of a “general public service” directly managed by the State through a State Agency.

In relation to this, has to be noted that the European Commission proposes to have regulation on at international level; the Eurocontrol Agency is establishing a Regulatory Commission in order to introduce the Eurocontrol Notice of Proposed rule making; ECAC (European Civil Aviation Conference) States already mandate Eurocontrol SRC to define and publish the Eurocontrol Safety Regulatory Requirements (ESARRs): Finally, in IFATCA opinion, CANSO (Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation) seem to show a non-shareable attitude toward self-regulating.

Purpose of this paper is to explore the need for a defined regulatory framework with clear oversight tasks on service providers.


The functions

In relation to the purpose of the present WP, the only functions of the Aviation System to be analysed will be:

  • Political and economical direction,
  • Regulatory,
  • Air Navigation Services Providing.

An update of the analysis, already presented in WP 168-03, follows.

Political and economical direction (function)

Such function can only be carried out by States or, on their behalf, by other entities mandate by the States (i.e. EC in Europe).

Regulatory function

Where ANS are provided by State bodies, (typically CAAs and/or Air Forces), government directly controls both regulatory and service providing functions through those bodies. Where (in commercialised/privatised environment) ANS are not provided by State bodies, governments have defined, or shall define, some form of separation of regulatory from service providing function, to maintain direct State control on the body producing regulation and checking compliance to it.

Service provision function

Air Navigation Services have always been associated with part of the general public service. In some States, ANS providing is still considered a public function and a CAA (and/or Air Force) department is usually devoted to such a task. In privatised/commercialised environment, often a share company has been constituted to provide such a function.

ATCOs involvement

In the interest of flight safety, SC4 believes, it is very important that ATCOs unique perspective is represented at all levels of rule making and regulatory oversight procedures.

Conclusions at Buenos Aires 2003

After wide discussion, the conclusions accepted in BA were:

  • ATM is a general service of public interest. To represent this public interest and, particularly, flight safety, it is found necessary that such a service remains under the responsibility of the State.
  • For those countries whose governments have moved their ATC systems, or are going to a commercialised/privatised environment, it is necessary that regulatory oversights remain under the responsibility of the State.
  • To guarantee the public interests and, particularly, flight safety, all the public and private stakeholders should include personnel with ATC background able to contribute to the law and rule making processes, oversight and investigation.


Regulation of ATM must remain the responsibility of the State or of those supranational public entities mandated by the member States.

Regulatory/oversight functions must always be separated from ANS providers.

In the public interest, regulatory agencies must include ATCOs at all levels of the law and rule making processes.


It is recommended to insert into IFATCA Manual, page 4 1 7 1 as Policy:



7.1.1 Regulation of ATM must remain the responsibility of the State or of those supranational public entities mandated by the member States.

7.1.2 Regulatory/oversight functions must always be separated from Air Navigation Service Providers.

7.1.3 Regulatory/oversight functions must always include ATCOs expertise in the development of the regulatory ATM framework.


WP 171/02 – “Regulation in Air Traffic Management” – EVP Europe;

WP 168/03 – “Monitor Institutional Framework In ATM” – SC4;

“Linee guida per la riforma del sistema dell’aviazione civile” (Guidelines for a reform of the civil aviation system) – IX Commission “Transports” – Parliament of the Italian Republic;

The Controller – 3/2002 – Foreword – by Marc Baumgartner, IFATCA President and CEO.

Last Update: September 29, 2020  

December 21, 2019   793   Jean-Francois Lepage    2004    

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