Rodrigo Vásquez
Director General
Federal Agency of Civil Aviation
Expert Contributor

GNASO: Objective of the Air Operation Technical Committee

By Rodrigo Vasquéz | Tue, 10/20/2020 - 13:30

The Civil Aviation Master Plan was officially presented to the aeronautical community within the framework of the 17th edition of the AeroExpo convention and exhibition, held from March 3 to 5, 2020. This unprecedented strategic project creates opportunities for the various areas of the Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC) to develop new initiatives or to reinforce the substantive functions they currently perform. The official presentation of the Master Plan brought with it the formation of eight technical committees, which together constitute a framework for the implementation of the plan. The Technical Committee for Air Operations is undoubtedly one of the essential committees for the objectives of the Master Plan.

The Air Operation Technical Committee is directly linked to the safety pillar. In this context, it is relevant to talk about this Technical Committee, since safety is an essential element for civil aviation and necessary to ensure that air transport continues to play an important role in the development of the country and which is fundamental for the implementation of the Master Plan. This Technical Committee will seek to ensure the operational safety and security of civil aviation, under two relevant aspects: on the one hand, to consolidate the National Civil Aviation Security Program, an excerpt of which was published in the Federal Official Gazette on June 12, 2019, and on the other hand, to create the National Operational Security Program that will have the delicate task of evaluating, controlling, managing and mitigating the effectiveness of the various elements of performance in the area of operational security at the national level and to continuously review them in order to adapt them to the new threats, dangers and challenges that arise in the evolving world of aviation. 

Thus, to address the essence of its objective, the Technical Committee analyzed the possible options. Research has been carried out on the best security practices applied by other ICAO member states, noting that it is important to speed up operational security control in a single group and, on the other hand, to specify the safety issues that alert or correspond to each type of service provider, as well as the specific mitigation measures that they are applying.

AFAC innovated with the creation of the National Operational Safety Group (GNASO), which was officially presented to all actors in civil aviation in July 2020, as a result of the search for best international practices. The integration of seven working groups, all focused on operational safety and delimited by the service provider, was established: one Group of Commercial Aviation (CAST), one Group of Agricultural Aviation (AAST), one Group of General Aviation (GAST), one Group of Aerodromes (AST), one Group of Flight Instruction Centers (ICEST), one Group of Helicopters (HTS), which is currently in operation, and one Group of Aeronautical Workshops (AWST).

With this, GNASO intends to promote operational safety, providing effective solutions to the main problems in this matter, counting on the direct participation of the service providers of the aeronautical activity in accordance with Annex 19 "Operational Safety Management" of the ICAO, as well as those dedicated to aero-sport aviation, private aviation and drones, in such a way that allows the AFAC to prioritize actions according to the highest safety standards in the aeronautical industry both in general and precisely for each aviation segment.

In view of the above, it can be pointed out that the involvement of service providers is essential for GNASO because they play an important role in the provision of vital information necessary for the setting of goals, performance indicators, objectives and operational safety management, which seeks to minimize risks for each type of service provider with the consequent benefit for the various users of air transport nationally and internationally.

The creation of GNASO will facilitate the decision-making process and specific measures to improve the operational safety of each service provider in such a way that each working group focuses on its objectives to solve specific problems that ultimately affect the development of the activities of each service provider.

In short, the transformation of civil aviation in Mexico is taking shape. The transition from DGAC to AFAC, the creation of the Master Plan for Civil Aviation, the implementation of the Technical Committees, the active involvement of the air sector and the creation of groups such as GNASO are proof of the efforts to transform civil aviation and of the perseverance to achieve it. GNASO is a joint outcome stemming from the dynamism between government and industry but, above all, it can be a key element in strengthening the operational safety system and affecting an essential aspect of air transport, ensuring that it is provided to the user in accordance with the best safety standards.

Photo by:   Rodrigo Vásquez