Airservices Australia Outlook


As the global aviation industry continues to change, we must continue to evolve and adapt to ensure we achieve our purpose and ambition.

The global air traffic management (ATM) operating environment is changing at a rapid pace. Our primary focus is ensuring safe air travel and supporting our customers with efficient and innovative services.

Aviation continues to grow-by 2037, it is estimated that global air traffic passenger numbers will double to 8.2 billion.

The wider Asia-Pacific region is forecast to record the largest growth of all regions globally in the next two decades, with an additional 2.35 billion passengers expected to travel each year (Ibid)

Passenger movements at Australia’s capital city airports will reach 235 million* a year by 2030.

The Oceania region is also expected to record significant growth, including an increase from approximately 17 million international arrivals in 2018 to 26 million by 2028. The biggest growth will come from China (5.6 per cent), followed by the rest of Asia (3.5 per cent) and North America (4 per cent) – Ibid.

Based on stable global economic growth, the forecast for the aviation industry is bright. Yet as with all global businesses, the industry’s operating environment is sensitive to global market changes influenced by economic conditions, technology, government policies, mining production, and global events.

These variables can significantly impact the long-term forecast figures. With the environment changing at a rapid pace, there will be periods of slowed growth-evidenced by past events-based on supply and demand, requiring the industry to navigate challenges as they arise.

Meanwhile, community expectation in relation to minimising the effects of aviation on communities and the environment will continue to grow.

*Aviation aircraft movements through capital city airports to 2029-30, Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, 2010


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Low-level Airspace Management

The global market for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)-known as drones-is expanding exponentially. By 2031 more than 24 million drones are predicted to populate our skies globally, compared to 150,000 drones in 2016.

The unmanned traffic management (UTM) market is valued at approximately US$538 million and is expected to expand at a compounded annual growth rate of over 20 per cent during the period 2019-2025.

Air navigation service providers (ANSPs) have been the primary source of oversight for safe, secure and efficient air travel for decades.

The growth of non-traditional vehicles brings specific challenges to the global aviation industry. One critical challenge is integrating a safe and sustainable system that supports the forecast growth in the emerging air mobility industry sector, while keeping our skies and communities safe.

With the accelerating pace of change we are continually monitoring international developments to ensure we are responsive to this shifting environment.

We are Prepared

Our five year strategy explores the opportunities and challenges these trends bring to our customers, industry and the community. Our programs and deliverables are tailored to capitalise on opportunities to ensure we deliver on our purpose and ambition.


Ministerial Expectations

Airservices Board Statement of Intent 2019-21

Statement of ExpectationsStatement of Intent
This instrument is the Statement of Expectations for Airservices Australia for the period 15 July 2019 to 30 June 2021.

This instrument commences on 15 July 2019 and expires at the end of 30 June 2021 as if it had been repealed by another instrument.

This instrument puts in place a new Statement of Expectations (SOE) which serves as a notice to Airservices Australia (Airservices) under section 17 of the Air Services Act 1995 (the Act).

The new SOE formalises the Government's
expectations concerning the operations and performance of Airservices.
The Airservices Board's Statement of Intent responds to each element of the Statement of Expectations and states Airservices' commitment to meeting the Minister's expectations.
Airservices should perform its functions in accordance with the Act, which requires that Airservices must regard the safety of air navigation as the most important consideration.

Airservices should also perform its functions in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) as well as other relevant legislation.
Airservices provides safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible services that are valued by the aviation industry and community on behalf of our owner, the Australian Government.

When performing our functions, we adhere to all relevant legislation including the Air Services Act and the PGPA Act.

The Board and the Chief Executive Officer make decisions consistent with their legislated responsibilities and the responsibilities resulting from our industry funding arrangements, relating to the objectives, strategies and policies to be followed by Airservices to ensure that we perform our functions in a proper, efficient and effective manner.

In accordance with the Act, the safety of air navigation is Airservices' most important consideration.
I expect that the board and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will continue to work to enable Airservices to operate as a world-best-practice Air Traffic Control (ATC) and Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting Service (ARFFS) provider.

I expect the Board to ensure Airservices has the necessary resources and capabilities in place to effectively manage Airservices' strategic direction, risks and corporate planning.

I expect the CEO to be responsible for managing the operations of Airservices, its organisational capacity and the exercise of its functions.

I expect the Board to keep the Secretary of my Department and me fully informed of Airservices' actions in relation to the requirements stated in this SOE, and promptly advise of any events or issues that may impact on the operations of Airservices, including through quarterly progress reports from the Board against the Corporate Plan and this SOE.
Airservices will ensure that its annual Corporate Plan positions the organisation to continue to provide safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible services that are valued by the aviation industry and community.

Airservices will monitor, focus and report on the effective delivery of Corporate Plan initiatives to ensure that we deliver the benefits to our customers.

Airservices will innovate to maintain its position as a leading air navigation service provider, with initiatives including the Network Management Program (including Airport Collaborative Decision Making and Long Range Air Traffic Flow Management), and the Digital Aerodrome Services Program.

Our People Strategy will ensure that we continue to invest in our workforce capability to provide an appropriately skilled workforce to deliver on our service objectives.

The Board and the Chief Executive Officer will ensure the Department and Minister are fully informed of all actions relating to these expectations through regular reporting including quarterly progress reports and annual reporting.
Key Aviation Initiatives
I expect Airservices, in conducting its responsibilities as the air navigation and aviation rescue and fire fighting services provider, will focus on the following key aviation initiatives:

(a) progress the timely, on-budget and effective implementation of the civil-military air traffic management program, known as OneSKY, including harmonisation initiatives with the Department of Defence (Defence) and advise me on the progress and achievement of program milestones.
The OneSKY Program remains the cornerstone of our commitment to deliver world-class air traffic management services into the future. Airservices will continue to work closely with the Department of Defence to deliver a harmonised civil military air traffic management system for Australia.

Airservices will update the Minister quarterly on the progress of OneSKY and achievement of program milestones.

We have also established the Air Navigation Services Readiness Program, which will prepare our air traffic operations for the future transition to OneSKY.
(b) work closely with my Department and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to ensure the safe integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into Australian airspace, including the development and implementation of a UAS traffic management system that complements the Government's broader approach to this sectorAirservices will continue to work with the Department and CASA to ensure the safe integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into Australian airspace.

As part of our Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Integration and Management Services Program we will deliver a pilot program to assess unmanned traffic management (UTM) systems and identify options for integration
of UAS with conventional airspace users while maintaining a safe and secure environment for all.

We will engage with government agencies through established forums and working groups to ensure the implementation of UAS traffic management aligns with the Government's policies and approach to this sector.
(c) work with my Department and CASA on
modernising airspace management, including:
  • progressing Australia's airspace protection policy;

  • enhancing the safety and efficiency of Australian controlled airspace including at major regional airports;

  • continuing to apply adequate resources to manage airspace planning and design including for Western Sydney Airport; and

  • continuing the implementation of Performance Based Navigation in Australia following consultation with other Government agencies, community and industry stakeholders
We will support Australia's airspace protection policy by working cooperatively with the Department and CASA and providing timely information to assist with policy and regulatory initiatives.

Airservices' Airspace Modernisation program will enhance the safety and efficiency of Australian airspace and increase access to airspace for theaviation industry, through national standardisation and leveraging increased surveillance to enhance service provision.

Airservices' Airport Development Support Program will deliver essential supporting infrastructure and services in support of aviation industry expansion, including airspace planning and design at Western Sydney Airport.

Airservices will continue the transition to Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) as the primary means of navigation in line with the global aviation industry in consultation with government agencies, the community and other stakeholders.
(d) assist in implementing the Government's environmental initiatives including:
  • minimising the impact of aircraft operations on communities where practicable;

  • supporting the ongoing role of the independent Aircraft Noise Ombudsman (ANO) and implementation of agreed
    made by the ANO;

  • appropriate resourcing of the Noise Complaints and Information Service to continue to improve the flow and quality of information to noise affected communities;

  • ongoing commitment to the Sydney Airport Long Term Operating Plan as required by the Ministerial direction dated 30 July 1997 (F2009B00158);

  • providing and reporting against an annual environment work program which outlines Airservices ongoing and new initiatives in managing, monitoring and alleviating, where safe and practicable, environmental effects of aircraft operations; and

  • working with the Department and industry on issues related to environmental contamination, including taking action on per- and
    poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in line with Government expectations on this issue.
In designing airspace and flight paths, Airservices seeks to minimise the impact of aircraft noise on communities as far as practicable. We engage with communities when we make changes that will impact them.

Airservices will continue to support the role of the ANO and implement all agreed recommendations.

Airservices' Noise Complaints and Information Service will continue to be resourced to provide quality information and manage noise complaints to a high standard.

The 1997 Ministerial Direction relating to the Sydney Long Term Operating Plan will continue to guide the operation of Sydney Airport.

Airservices' initiatives to manage and monitor the environmental effects of aircraft operations are outlined in an annual environmental work plan, with quarterly progress reports provided to the Minister.

Airservices will continue to implement a risk-based national PFAS management program, including site investigations, containment and monitoring as appropriate.

Airservices will work closely with Government agencies and industry on issues related to PFAS in line with Government expectations, including participating in the Commonwealth inter-departmental committee.
(e) continue to work with the Department and CASA on implementing the Government's ARFFS policy.Airservices will continue to work with the Department and CASA to implement the Government's ARFFS policy. We support the planned shift from the current prescriptive regulatory framework to a more outcomes based approach.

Airservices' ARFFS Modernisation Program will ensure ARFFS is 'fit for the future' and positioned to leverage new technology to enhance service delivery, with a program of work focused around our people, facilities, vehicles, equipment and training.
(f) maintain international and regional aviation safety engagement through effective engagement in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and safety and capability building initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region.Airservices will continue to support the Australian Government's safety initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region. Our international capability development program enhances the safety of air transport in our region by helping our neighbouring air navigation service providers in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea to build their capability and improve their operations.

Airservices is an active participant in ICAO forums and works closely with the Department and CASA to ensure that Australia's ICAO responsibilities are met.
Stakeholder Engagement
I expect Airservices will continue to:

a) undertake effective and productive engagement with the community and industry based on mutual understanding and respect.

b) communicate clearly and regularly with my Department and CASA, industry and the community on the development and implementation of significant changes to air navigation and ARFFS.

c) proactively provide information, assistance and advice to Government agencies for policy formulation, implementation activities and regulation purposes.

d) contribute in the coordinated approach to airport planning including appropriate participation in planning coordination forums, community aviation consultation groups, and the National Airports Safeguarding Advisory Group.

e) work closely with my Department and other Government agencies, including the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, CASA and Defence to deliver integrated and comprehensive advice to the Government, the aviation industry and the community.
Airservices engages with industry on its service delivery, strategic planning, pricing and other key initiatives via direct engagement with customers and stakeholders, engagement with industry bodies and participation in established industry forums such as ASTRA.

Airservices engages with the community when we make changes that will impact them.

Airservices has established mechanisms to share information with CASA in relation to the performance of its regulatory functions.

Airservices keeps the Department and Minister informed through regular reporting including quarterly progress reports and annual reporting and responds to requests for assistance and advice from government agencies.

Airservices is committed to ongoing participation in the National Aviation Safeguarding Advisory Group and engaging via airport-led planning coordination and consultation forums and technical noise working groups.

We will work closely with the Department and other agencies to deliver integrated and comprehensive advice to the Government and other stakeholders on emerging issues affecting aviation regulation and policy including airspace management and protection, UAS and UTM, ARFFS and aviation infrastructure planning and implementation.

The Minister has also issued the following Ministerial Directions:

199629 MayHandling of aircraft noise complaints at Sydney and other federal airports
199730 JulyProgressive implementation of Sydney Long Term Operating Plan
19993 MayResponsibilities in relation to the environmental effects of aircraft
200431 AugustProvision of approach radar services at specific airports