Industry Voices 2023 Optimism returns with an eye on the future

Industry Voices 2023

Optimism returns with an eye on the future

Optimism has been in short supply in the aviation industry in recent years, but the mood music is definitely seems to be increasingly up tempo.

We asked leaders from aviation organisation from across the world - from trade bodies, regulators, ANSPs, technology suppliers and airports - to share their views on the state of the industry as they see it.

What emerges is absolutely a degree of optimism, albeit one coloured with caution. And with that optimism comes a confidence to also look to the horizon for the first time in three years.

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With the recovery from Covid now feeling more secure, lots of organisations have taken the opportunity to take stock, review their priorities and refresh their organisational strategies. Many are talking about investment in technology and people, while at the same time grappling with the Gordian knot of balancing growth with the demands of the climate crisis.

The arrival of new airspace users also looms large and how traditional players in the air traffic management world adapt to that new future will be fascinating to watch.

Marie-Pier Berman Vice President & Chief of Operations, NAV CANADA

Marie-Pier Berman

Priorities for the future

As the first privatised air navigation service provider (ANSP), NAV CANADA has a unique opportunity to show leadership, support the aviation sector in achieving long-term success and provide benefits to our economy and society. To reach our objectives, we have been consistently investing in people and world-leading technologies.

For instance, we have already invested $2.6 billion to keep Canada’s air navigation system (ANS) as safe, efficient and innovative as it can be. These investments are continuing under our strategic direction, which is focusing on streamlined service delivery and continued improvements to the ANS including resiliency, predictability, efficiency.

How ATM can support the wider industry

NAV CANADA is working on the implementation of Trajectory-Based Operations (TBO) which involves leveraging advances in technology to evolve air traffic management from tactical to more strategic.

In advance of these efforts, we have also introduced new arrival procedures at most airports, including at Toronto Pearson. With Required Navigation Performance—Authorization Required (RNP-AR) approach procedures, we can improve predictability, accuracy and limit overflight of populated areas, all while reducing emissions.

Another core focus for NAV CANADA is environmental sustainability. In this regard, we are developing an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Strategy, which will help position NAV CANADA for a carbon-neutral future.

Johl​​​​ Steel Brown Manager ATS Future Services Priorities for the future, Airways New Zealand

Priorities for the future

As we emerge from the effects of the pandemic, we find now to be the best time for us to refresh our strategy and subsequent roadmaps.

We predict that we will be back to pre-pandemic traffic levels by 2024 for domestic flights and 2025 for international flights, however this time with more diverse airspace users than ever, as well as a strong desire across the industry to address climate change.

Our refreshed Airways strategy sets out a clear path for the next 10 years, and at the base of this strategy are our four key pillars:

  1. Put Our People First
  2. Serve All Airspace Users
  3. Support Sustainable Aviation
  4. Unlock Future Growth

How ATM can support the wider industry

To support the organisational strategy, the Airways Air Traffic Services unit has built out its vison and roadmap, with four cornerstone outcomes:

  1. Digital Aerodrome Services – A national rollout of aerodrome services through digital means.
  2. Airspace Optimisation – Airspace Architecture. A redesign of our airspace architecture to deliver flexible and on demand services.
  3. Airspace Optimisation – Network Management. Enhancing our network building towards trajectory-based operations.
  4. Standardisation – An enduring focus on standardisation and consistency in delivery of service.

It is the advancements of technology in air traffic management that are not only inspiring us, but also enabling us to deliver on the changing requirements of our customers and stakeholders.

The next few years will see us building out the detailed roadmap for these outcomes to ensure that we are delivering safe, sustainable & efficient services to New Zealand’s aviation industry and those that they serve.

Moodie Cheikh CEO and Co-founder, Searidge Technologies

Moodie Cheikh

Priorities for the future

Given the rate of adoption of digital towers not only by air navigation service providers, but also airports and airlines, we are accelerating our product roadmap to stay ahead of market demand. We are also working more closely with partners to ensure alignment and engaging in more long-term 'ecosystem' type discussions with our customers.

The market seems to be embracing the need for data sharing across the technology ecosystem. While there's still some hesitation in demanding data sharing across the technology ecosystem, we are starting to hear the right language from customers. This has been something we've been advocating for, for a long time, so it's great to see the market starting to shift.

How ATM can support the wider industry

I think the primary way advances in ATM best support airport’s strategic objectives, and probably the lowest hanging fruit, is simply by sharing data and information. ATM and airports continue to operate in silos, even where ANSPs and airports have excellent relationships.

Of course, I'd love the industry to move more aggressively towards open and common platforms, this would ensure ATM and Airports progress together, and in a more integrated way.

The primary way advances in ATM best support airport’s strategic objectives, and probably the lowest hanging fruit, is simply by sharing data and information.

Moodie Cheikh, Searidge Technologies CEO & Co-founder

Steven Yiu Executive Director, Airport Operations, Airport Authority Hong Kong

Steven Yiu

Priorities for the future

Since the relaxation of travel restrictions in Hong Kong, robust rebounds have been seen in all passenger segments and flight movements of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).

Traffic to and from Southeast Asia, Mainland China, Taiwan and Japan recorded significant increments. Currently, we handle around 100,000 passengers daily and 700 flights per day on average, representing about 50% and 60% of the pre-pandemic levels respectively. Passenger volume is expected to recover to around 80% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year.

An array of new airport facilities and services designed to provide an unparalleled passenger experience have been introduced.

Latest technologies have been applied to passenger service as well as back-of -house operations to enhance experience and efficiency. For example, biometrics is being used in check-in procedures; driverless vehicles are being used for transporting staff, baggage and cargo on the apron.

How ATM can support the wider industry

The airport’s expansion, the Three-runway System, is progressing as planned. The new third runway has been completed and is operating smoothly since last November when it officially opened.

The centre runway is temporarily closed for reconfiguration. All the three runways will be operating by the end of next year. The expansion project will enable the airport to handle 120 million passengers and 10 million tonnes of cargo per year.

The Airport Authority Hong Kong has been working closely with our stakeholders on all the preparation necessary for the smooth transition and operation, including working closely with Civil Aviation Department in the aspect of air traffic management.

Passenger volume is expected to recover to around 80% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year.

Steven Yiu, Executive Director, Airport Operations, Airport Authority Hong Kong

Simon Hocquard Director General, CANSO

Simon Hocquard

Priorities for the future

One of our biggest and most pressing priorities is meeting the aviation industry’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Innovations like hydrogen aircraft and sustainable aviation fuels will take time to realise and so ATM has a crucial role to play in the shorter term enhancing efficiency.

We must also keep an eye on emerging scientific evidence on contrails. If it proves correct that we can accurately predict their formation, this could point to an even greater role for ATM in helping minimise non CO2 impact.

Another challenge is ATM/UTM integration. If we think our skies are busy today, they look set to become even more so with the advent of new airspace users like eVTOLs and near space vehicles.

Efficiently handling increased volumes of different vehicles – all with different performance characteristics - while maintaining safety and avoiding congestion is another pressing priority. CANSO has aligned this cross-industry fora on a vision for the skies of 2045 and a roadmap to get there.

How ATM can support the wider industry

The pandemic and increased fuel costs hit the aviation industry hard. ATM can help improve efficiency and data can help.

Big data is already used by airlines, airports and ANSPs to analyse operational and environmental information and to make better use of airspace. It can also help enhance safety, reduce emissions, and save time and money across the industry. NATS is leading the way in this regard, having used data to optimise fuel loads, identify performance gaps and test airspace management decisions.

Collaborative Decision Making is also a game changer with airports, ANSPs, and airlines working together to optimise flights by sharing information on potential inefficiencies and delays on the runway and in the air. I think the real gains to be made are by combining ACDM with Air Traffic Flow Management.

This will enable ATM to work with airlines and airports to manage traffic from gate to gate more efficiently. Flagging delays early, so that everyone gets all-important arrival and departure information at the same time, allowing the different organisations involved in a flight to adjust their schedules and resourcing as the latest information comes to hand.

Finally we need to keep an eye on the future. We must continue to invest in a modern and digital air traffic system that can accommodate all airspace users.

Karen Dee UK Airport Operators Association

Karen Dee

What are the industry’s main priorities?

The main priorities for aviation have to be how we can support economic growth, while at the same time fulfilling our climate change commitments. As the UK positions itself as a global trading power, airports will play a crucial role in encouraging inward investment, imports and exports and creating jobs and prosperity.

It is hugely important that everyone involved, from airports, airlines, the regulator and governments, recognises this and works together to ensure it is the case.

That, however, does not mean the sector can ignore its environmental responsibilities, and indeed aviation is leading the way in ensuring it meets its net zero obligations by 2050.

The Sustainable Aviation Road-Map lays out an ambitious pathway to do just this through a mixture of measures, including through Sustainable Aviation Fuels, hydrogen and electric flight, newer, cleaner engines, and importantly, airspace modernisation. Delivering on all this will allow aviation to expand, help to grow the economy and meeting its emissions targets.

How ATM can support the wider industry

The UK’s air traffic management (ATM) and modernising the UK’s airspace is a key aspect in delivering these strategic objectives. ATM technology has advanced enormously in recent years, both in the cockpit and in control towers but our airspace, our motorways in the sky, have not changed since the 1950s.

Reforming UK airspace and enabling more performance-based navigation will make flying more fuel efficient, reduce carbon emissions, enable more efficient use of capacity, bring respite to communities around airports, and improve customer experience.

Javier Ruano ATM Business Managing Director, Indra

Javier Ruano

What are the industry’s main priorities?

We want to continue strengthening our leadership and our position as a technological partner to transform the aviation infrastructure worldwide. We are a company that always establishes stable collaborative relationships with each client based on trust.

This philosophy has led us to play a leading role in the largest ATM projects currently taking place in Europe, which are also global benchmarks.

The first one is the construction of the Single European Sky, an initiative on which we have been working hard with the iTEC Alliance. Another big initiative is the modernisation of EUROCONTROL's Network Manager, where we are implementing cutting-edge technologies that will enable much more efficient traffic management across the continent.

We have also committed with the whole society to flying in a much more environmentally friendly manner. And both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have reminded us that we must enhance the resilience of critical infrastructure for society.

Our future and the sustainability of the entire aviation industry depends on how quickly we respond to these challenges.

How ATM can support the wider industry

Technology should always serve the needs of the customer. If we have become one of the world's largest providers of air traffic systems, it is because we have known how to listen and deliver systems that meet expectations.

Safety will always be the number one priority in this industry, followed by efficiency, resilience, and sustainability.

And both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have reminded us that we must enhance the resilience of critical infrastructure for society.

Javier Ruano, ATM Business Managing Director, Indra

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