Project Summary: Pacific Upper Airspace Study

CAPA undertook a study for the World Bank to review upper airspace revenue allocation across the Pacific. The project involved:

  • Reviewing the arrangements for delivery of air traffic management services in the upper airspace across the Pacific;
  • Analysing methodologies used to allocate associated revenue to Pacific Island nations; and
  • Considering alternate options available, including a regional approach.

While the report focused on Tuvalu and Kiribati it held wider implications for all nations in the Pacific. Importantly the report provided recommendations to enable these nations receive a more equitable share of upper airspace revenue.

Airservices Australia, Airways New Zealand and Airports Fiji Ltd (AFL) currently provide air traffic management (ATM) services in the upper airspace of the South Pacific and allocate a share of the revenue collected from air navigation charges to states within Flight Information Regions (FIR). However, each applies different revenue allocation models.

The absence of a unified approach across the region has created a volatile environment which will likely hamper system efficiency and lead to increases in airline operating costs.

This study provided options and recommendations to resolve immediate problems confronting Tuvalu and Kiribati with their revenue share arrangement. It also provides long term alternatives involving new ATM delivery arrangements.

Options for Restructuring Upper Airspace Arrangements in the Pacific

Two options for a regional solution were presented through the study and discussed at a regional workshop in Vanuatu:

  1. The so-called Pacific Upper Airspace Management (PUAM) concept. This involves the Pacific Island nations forming a commercial organisation which would then sub-contract the delivery of services to an established supplier through a competitive tender.
  2. The second involves establishing an operation which would be owned by the Pacific Island nations to provide upper airspace services in its own right.