The European Air Navigation Planning Group (EANPG) continues to perform effectively as the ICAO regional coordinating body for the 55 States in the ICAO European (EUR) Region and supported by the EUR/NAT Office. The Group currently meets in plenary session one per year in the autumn and is supported by its Coordinating Group (COG) which is made up of a subset of members of the EANPG and which meets on 2 other occasions during the year in order to continue the work of the parent body between plenary sessions. The Plenary is well attended and an effective formation for the delivery of high level air navigation and planning policy in the Region.

A recent review of the Regional arrangements has highlighted the necessity for greater efficiency both in terms of the use of the resources of the ICAO Regional Office Secretariat and the resources committed to the various coordinating groups that underpin both the EANPG and the Regional Aviation Safety Group (RASG EUR). The review has highlighted the need for greater involvement of Directors General of Civil Aviation (DGCAs) in the high level coordination of work in the Region in terms of Safety and Air Navigation & Planning and the need to eradicate any overlap or duplication of effort. Hence the proposals to involve DGCAs in high level meetings that fit within the schedule of significant meetings in ICAO HQ and to merge the work of the EANPG and the RASG EUR into a single Aviation Systems Planning Group that will align with the structures in our neighbouring Region in the North Atlantic (NAT).

These proposals have been discussed recently with the members of the Air Navigation Commission (ANC) as part of their review of the reports of the Planning and Implementation Regional Groups (PIRGs) and Regional Aviation Safety Groups (RASGs). The ANC broadly supported the need for change and are watching the output of the EUR Region changes with interest. The aim is to run an initial joint meeting this autumn of the RASG and EANPG to test the new arrangements and to develop proposals for the supporting structures.

In the interim the EANPG and COG continue to progress issues of importance to the Region including, improvements to wake vortex separation criteria (in order to increase efficiency at our busier airports), provide access to portions of airspace that are cause difficulty to operators (such as High Seas portions of the Black Sea and some parts of the Baltic Sea) and to continue to roll out improvements to air navigation efficiency and effectiveness through the roll out of further ASBU modules and the delivery of a Performance Framework that can be used throughout the Region. Improvements are also sought to aeronautical information management and meteorological information through improved coordination and harmonisation.

The next meetings of the European Air Navigation Planning Group and the Regional Aviation Safety Group Europe will be organised as the first combined back to back EANPG/59 and RASG EUR/06 meeting (30 October to 3 November 2017, Paris, France).

Phil Roberts, formerly of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, is the Chairman of EANPG

This article was originally written for the ICAO EUR/NAT Office’s Newsletter (Issue 1) on May 2017. A full list of their newsletters can be found here