In an industry effort to meet global needs for airspace interoperability while sustaining its focus on safety, ICAO initiated the Aviation System Block Upgrades program as a framework that develops a set of air traffic management solutions or upgrades, takes advantage of current equipage, establishes a transition plan, and enables global interoperability.
Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBU) comprises a suite of modules, each having the essential qualities of:
- A clearly-defined measurable operational improvement and success metrics
- Necessary equipment and/or systems in aircraft and on ground along with an operational approval or certification plan
- Standards and procedures for both airborne and ground systems
- A positive business case over a clearly defined period of time
Two teams of members involved in air transportation modernization define and govern the work of the block upgrades initiative. The Technical Team, comprising subject matter experts, develops the block upgrades’ modules that support key performance improvement areas defined in terms of time and evolving technologies. The Challenge Team, comprising government and industry senior executives, provides senior level policy guidance and oversight.
The first meeting of the Challenge Team was held in ICAO HQ on 27 June 2011. The meeting was chaired by the ICAO Secretary General and was attended by senior executives of the aviation industry. The group discussed the main challenges to achieve global harmonization and agreed to focus on the following priorities:
- Expedite short term implementation, leveraging on existing onboard technologies
- Financing models
- Improve communication
- Improve ICAO process to support ASBU implementation
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