World ATM Now, 2017 Highlights

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2017 Highlights | Madrid, Spain | IFEMA, Feria de Madrid


World ATM Congress 2017 in Review

The Future of ATM is Bright ... Just Beware Black Swans, Geopolitical Events


Brian Pearce, Chief Economist, IATA, talks about the economic outlook during the World ATM Congress’ conference programme Session One: Responding to Geopolitical Change and Black Swans.

aulty economic and air traffic growth forecasts, the ongoing delay in implementing a single European sky, a record number of European controller strikes, worldwide geopolitical change, and unpredictable “black swan” events like 9/11 and Brexit are shaping the future of air traffic management, said two leading industry experts during the World ATM Congress opening session 7 March. Willie Walsh, CEO, International Airlines Group (IAG), and Chair of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said the ATM industry would do well to emulate airlines’ ability to adapt quickly to unexpected events like security changes, political instability, natural disasters, and changing demographics. In particular, this includes finally moving forward on a single Euro-

pean sky. “It’s remained on the starting blocks for over 17 years, and the EU seems toothless to push it through due to the opposition of several member states,” Walsh said. “A single European sky has been talked about since I was a child. But the time for talking is over; we need action. We need a change of attitude and a change of culture.” Walsh, who started his career as a cadet pilot at age 17 and now runs the sixth-largest airline company in the world, said IAG has a unique structure. As the owner of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Vueling, IAG operates four independent airline brands that have grown significantly while facing different market conditions and opportunities. “How do airlines react so quickly? » continued on page 12

Ready or Not, Drones are Coming to a UTM Near You


he unmanned aviation vehicle (UAV) industry is like a baby at full term—it’s going to be born whether its air traffic management family is ready or not, said Teri Bristol, Chief Operating Officer, Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Organization, during the final Conference Programme session on 8 March. “We just need to make sure we don’t use King Herod as our model of childcare management,” quipped Michael Baldwin, Deputy Director General, Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, European Commission. The current speed of UAV technol-

ogy is amazing, bringing in a “whole bunch of new, non-aviation kids” into the staid ATM industry, Baldwin said. And the industry is keen to find a regulatory system that is not just safe, secure, and flexible, but also integrates and welcomes the new players. The challenge, he said, is, “if you had a new, hard-charging, disruptive—or should we say seismic— technology, would you choose the ATM world to implement that?” ATM is scrambling to maintain its stellar record of safety and security while also facilitating the development of a new market, Baldwin said. But there’s immense pressure to get the regulatory approach right to help

World ATM 2017 Breaks Attendance Records

7,757 Registrants 230 Exhibitors 81 Members of International Press 131 Countries 83 ANSPs 100+ Hours of Free Education Programming from 98 Organizations

Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director General, Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, European Commission (middle) discusses concerns of new technologies during Session Four: Airspace and UTM: Driving the Future or Left Behind? on 8 March.

ensure consumer acceptance of drone technology. “We could kill this industry ourselves,” he warned. Baldwin ended his opening speech with a series of questions for session panelists: “What lessons will drones bring to the ATM? Will they lead to more competition? We’re all talking a good game, but can we deliver a good game?”

Bristol said the FAA is taking a very methodical approach to UAV regulation. It has published rules for hobbyists and small UAV operators, and there are currently over 720,000 drones registered in the US. “But the FAA is not going to build a UTM (unmanned aircraft system traffic man» continued on page 5

Madrid 2017



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“I was very optimistic from the very beginning. From the first year, it was already a very good solution with very good outcomes, but I have to tell you that after five years, you see the maturity of the event. Any positive expectation we had at the time, we went beyond. Look to the quality of this year, the quality in any perspective: the quality of the stands, the quality of the presentations, the quality of the conference, the quality of the services, and the quality of people. You see people working really together over here. They feel really comfortable meeting over here. It's become a sort of institution, this meeting in Madrid. I'm very proud of it … The size of the event is such that for a manager in three days, you make your job for three months because you meet anyone you need to meet over here: colleagues, customers, suppliers, regulators - everybody's here. All the ATM stakeholders are coming to Madrid.”

“This is my third time in Madrid,” said Carlos Vuyk de Aquino of DECEA (third from left). “It’s a very important show – here you can meet everyone involved in ATM services. We need to respect and integrate Brazil in a global market.”

- Massimo Garbini, SESAR Deployment Manager, Managing Director, on World ATM Congress’ evolution


World ATM Congress participants enjoy a rousing game of foosball at the ATCA stand.


Madrid 2017


EUROCONTROL Explains Key Enterprises


UROCONTROL’s briefings on Thursday, 9 March focused on two new initiatives: Total ATM and ICAO Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBU) Monitoring. Flemming Nyrup, Senior Manager at Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre ATM Knowledge Centre (MAKC), said there’s a general agreement that the European performance scheme isn’t working the way air navigation service providers (ANSPs) want. “There are four spokes on the performance wheel: safety, environment, capacity, and cost,” he said. “But we think the wheel should have eight spokes.” Without those eight spokes, Nyrup said MAKC estimates ANSPs can lose 25 percent productivity. The MAKC performance scheme, dubbed Total ATM, adds customer orientation, staff resourcing, culture and communication, and resilience to the safety, environment, capacity, and cost criteria. “A lot of people say safety should always be first, but our model calls for ‘service first, safety always,’” Nyrup said. “There’s very little talk about safety because the safety is always there. We worry about the service instead.” Nyrup said Total ATM’s culture

“A lot of people say safety should always be first, but our model calls for ‘service first, safety always.’ There’s very little talk about safety because the safety is always there. We worry about the service instead.” –Flemming Nyrup, MAKC

Dany Debals, EUROCONTROL, speaks to attendees on the Exhibition Hall floor.

and communication spoke focuses on issues like performance culture, safety culture, and change culture. Environment not only includes footprint, but also green energy and other power for facilities. And capacity focuses on technical capacity management. Resilience is not just about technical resilience, but also tactical capacity management, staffing, and resourcing. “It answers questions like if your main system fails, what does your backup system do?”

Nyrup said. For staff resourcing, Total ATM could predict demand 12 months out and help an ANSP to staff to meet that demand. “We get fascinated by fancy tools, but it’s important to do the process work first,” Nyrup said. “It’s all about a demand base, targeting what we’re supposed to deliver, creating a flexible system, and reworking the processes.” Representatives from EUROCONTROL and ICAO also discussed how Local Single Sky Implementation

(LSSIP) information is being used for ICAO Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBU) and ATM Master Plan Monitoring. LSSIP has existed for 24 years, said Danny Debals, Head of EUROCONTROL’S Pan-European Reporting and Monitoring Units. It was initially adapted into the EATCHIP Work Programme for European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) strategies, and approved by 41 states. Eight years ago, LSSIP was adapted into the SESAR European ATM Master Plan, Debals said. Then in 2013, it was approved for the » continued on page 5

Collaboration is Key in Today’s Technological World


s the Snapchat generation enters the air traffic management (ATM) workplace in greater numbers, collaboration is becoming more important than ever, said Martin Rolfe, NATS CEO, during a Wednesday, 8 March Conference Programme session. “The new generations are absolutely au fait with digital technology and collaboration,” he said. “But I would argue that collaboration with all of the players in the ATM industry is much less mature than that.” Rolfe led panelists in a discussion of how the complex ATM world can adapt in order to use information technology nimbly and effectively, and also collaborate with tech-driven younger generations. “Our industry is only moderately willing to take on change, and so the people driving that change are going to think this industry is pretty boring,” he said. Florian Guillermet, Executive Director, SESAR Joint Undertaking, said the ATM industry tends to use technology only to mimic what it’s previously done. “But I don’t think that fits any more into the new picture of connectivity of aviation,” he said. “The main challenge I see is how do we bring on board the regulatory side? I see some sort of resistance; even technology is seen as a risk from that standpoint. I could argue that this attitude could become unsafe in the world we live in.”

For instance, Guillermet said, when regulators answer the question, ‘Tell me how you see the future in 2030,’ they say they see the same thing we have today, but we have to spend 500 million euros on it.” This also applies to cybersecurity, Guillermet said. “We are being advised by the SESAR Scientific Committee that if we stay as we are today, we will be protected because nobody is able to code in Fortran. But if we move into the new world, we have to be state-of-the-art to ensure security. We can’t be stuck between the two worlds.” Todd Donovan, Vice President, Strategy and Marketing, Thales Air Traffic Management, said the collaboration issue is not a technology problem, but rather a mindset problem. “We should admit the fact that we have been losing people to the new tech industries,” he said. “But drones and UTM are an opportunity to make the business more interesting and reinvigorate the attractiveness of our industry. They’re a way to reshape the industry for the next generation.” Eldar Hauge, Managing Director, Indra Navia AS, said ANSPs tend to need very detailed specifications, which prohibits unique solutions that can create efficiency, cost effectiveness, and collaboration. He was seconded by Norbert Haslacher, Member of the Executive Board, Frequentis. “Information technology is a global, very

Florian Guillermet, Executive Director SESAR Joint Undertaking, responds to questions during Session Three: Information Technology and the Culture of Collaboration.

competitive market. Clients want to have the best of breed, so they put a lot of pressure on the IT industry. That’s what I miss with the ATM industry—the pressure to create a solution that delivers the best of breed and best value.” Haslacher also discussed “copetition,” or the marriage of competition and collaboration. This can apply to both airlines and ANSPs,

which have to cooperate but may also be in competition for the same markets. “You can compare ATM to telecom,” Hauge said. “Every nation had a telecom provider, but then there was deregulation and they switched from collaborators to competitors. We’re seeing the same thing in the ATM industry; we’re just 20 years behind.”


Madrid 2017



Different Ingredients Needed to Create a Brave New ATM World


hat’s the best way to create can we do to be more proactive a culture of performance technologically before something and innovation in air traffic happens? management? Four experts weighed Metts: There’s a lot of innovation, in during a 7 March Conference Pro- but the ability to communicate that gramme session. innovation is separate. We’re wastModerator Steve McMahon, Dep- ing our research and development uty Vice President, Safety and Tech- dollars by going in one direction, nical Training, FAA, kicked off the while not capturing where the orsession with a series of questions. ganisations need to go from a reguHow do you embrace innova- latory and innovation standpoint. tion in air traffic Peters: Techmanagement nology needs without comto be sexy, so “Technology needs to promising safeto speak. If we be sexy, so to speak. ty? have an HMI (huIf we have an HMI Stephen Anman-machine (human-machine ingus, Executive interface) that terface) that is nice General Managis nice to work to work with, and we er, Air Navigation with, and we have the training so Services, Airserhave the trainwe know what to vices Australia, ing so we know expect, we embrace said technology what to expect, it. We have aviation is an enabler, we embrace it. accidents mainly but safety is all We have aviabecause training is about having tion accidents insufficient.” strong leadermainly because –Patrik Peters, IFACTA ship and a focus training is insufon delivering the ficient. Technolright outcomes. ogy is easy to Chris Metts, Vice President, Glob- implement, but that’s only 10 peral Aviation and ATM, Harris Corpo- cent of the game. Ninety percent is ration, compared adapting to new investment in the human. technology with a recent visit he had How do we ensure that if a degwith his young granddaughter. She radation of capabilities occurs in was being introduced to new foods, a technology, humans can jump and Metts was reminded of the say- in? How do we keep people ready ing that people need to try some- to engage? thing at least seven times before Angus: I think we’ve moved past they embrace it. “It’s like we need to the idea that more data is fantastic. effectively communicate how good More data can actually be clutter. Brussels sprouts might be to an organisation,” he said. There’s a common perception that safety-focused organisations resist change. Why do people think air traffic management is resistant to change? Patrik Peters, President and CEO, International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Organizations (IFACTA): Controllers aren’t resistant to change, but we have opinions about what’s needed to make our job easier. We want to be involved in that change management, and also have training that’s necessary to operate a new technology. Very often we see controllers are being confronted with change, but are not part of that change. Gilbert Macharia Kibe, Director General, Kenya Aviation Authority: The entire spectrum should be involved in research and development, so we have a sense of ownership of the technology being introduced. All too often in air traffic management, change is driven by a catalyst, like a disaster. What

Captain Gilbert Macharia Kibe, Director General Kenya Civil Authority speaks during Session Two: Creating a Performance and Innovation Culture in ATM on 7 March.

Now, we’re decluttering systems so humans can make a clearer decision and do a more effective job. Peters: If you’re relying on automation, you need to know where it doesn’t automate your work anymore, and where you as a controller need to jump in and disconnect. Every year, controllers need to go through training to know what happens when automation fails. How do you encourage a safety culture? Kibe: We wanted to have a system where people do not get penalised for reporting. Six months ago, we came up with a system for voluntary occurrence reporting, and have found it’s far more effective than any other system we’ve used.

What job-satisfaction drivers are important to attracting and retaining the most qualified workforce? Kibe: We’ve not been effective at sensitising the general population that they can become air traffic controllers. We’re reaching out through schools, new platforms, and mentors that speak out about different careers in aviation. We need to show that aviation does provide a good working environment. Angus: We must have an enterprise-sharing attitude, so we’re employing new, different people who come to work feeling they’re part of the future. Our business model is changing radically for a very, very different future.

Entertainment during the opening reception featured colorful oversized characters from Spanish folklore.


Highlights Drones

» continued from page 1

agement) model because the industry is much better equipped to do that than we are,” she said. Baldwin said the European Commission is currently working on a regulatory system for small drones, with a use-base blueprint scheduled for the end of April. The Commission doesn’t have additional provisions for registration because most of its member states do that very well, he said. But it is looking at developing European standards for international marking and identification of drones. Kevin Shum, Director General, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, said his country is very interested in working with the UAV industry to develop identification solutions for different types of

EUROCONTROL » continued from page 3

ICAO Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP) to track ASBU monitoring and regional planning for ASBU implementation. LSSIP uses existing ECAC information for ASBU Block 0 states and a questionnaire for new state members. The result is the ASBU Implementation Monitoring Report, which will be part of the GANP 2019. Sven Halle, ICAO EUR/NAT Office, said the report includes an

NOW drone use in a controlled airspace. “This is one area where I truly believe that industry cooperating with ANSPs can come up with a solution,” he said. “ICAO is not really the right place where these discussions should occur, because none of these aircraft are likely to cross international boundaries. And do we really want ICAO regulating domestic operations?” Shum also discussed privacy, which he views as a significant concern with UAVs. However, he believes it’s not an ANSP issue, but rather a community issue. “A camera on a drone is no different than a guy using a telephoto lens from his 25th floor residence,” he said. Sean Cassidy, Director, Safety & Regulatory Affairs, Amazon Prime Air, said UAV regulatory protocols could be borrowed from the telecommunications industry, but need to be leveroverview for every Block 0 module. It also includes a dashboard showing the status of ASBU Block 0 implementation for each state, and an outlook for 2018. “We partner with ICAO EUR to monitor and report on ASBU implementation in the EUR region. There’s no double reporting in 41 states. For new states, there’s easy reporting based on the existing mechanism,” he said. “There’s a pretty smart process in place without too much burden for the states to fulfill the reporting requirements.”


Madrid 2017

A busy Exhibition Hall included 230 exhibiting companies, great educational sessions, and more than 120 presentations.

aged for safety. Amazon, which is conducting its first customer trial in the United Kingdom, doesn’t see itself as an ANSP, Cassidy said. But it’s quite cognisant that it will be “tarred with the same brush if there is a drone incident.” “We travel around the planet to talk on panels,” he added, “But how are we going to get to the point where we truly have coordination on guidelines and standards, and how are we going to fill the gaps?” He believes that the answer is to triage—“look at the things that are most important and concentrate on that.” Marc Kegelaers, CEO, Unifly nv, said ATM is a highly sophisticated

IT control that towers above the rest

industry that communicates in ways that are often incomprehensible to UAV users. “How do we take the massive amount of information that no one else understands and communicate it to the person who just wants to fly his drone?” he asked. “Much of the acceptance of drones in our industry depends on how we connect to the end user.” Craig Marcinkowski, Director, Strategy & Business Development, Gryphon Sensors, said over the last 12 to 18 months, the challenge has shifted back to the UAV industry to show the ATM world that drone systems are safe and secure.

LEADING THE WAY IN DIGITAL KVM From the ANSP to the controller to the technician, everyone’s better off with KVM. For the service provider, KVM adds flexibility to IT infrastructure. It enables emergency work-arounds, improves workflows, adds reliability to redundancy concepts and provides continuous, uninterrupted IT availability. ATCOs enjoy a computer-free environment. Moving the computers to a central location creates less noise, less heat and more space to create better working conditions in the control room. And the system’s more reliable too! With KVM, technicians can access several systems from a range of locations - not just their workplace. Administration is made easier and maintenance too: the computers are stored centrally so no more crawling under desks. There’s also more time for maintenance because ATCOs can be simply switched to a back-up system whenever it’s required. For optimum IT system control, improved working conditions and increased system safety, there’s only one all-round answer – KVM from G&D.



NOW Madrid 2017 Boeing Shortlisted for IHS Jane’s ATC Runway Award Simultaneous parallel runway curved approaches by designing RNP AR and RNPe make it to final four of category


he teams at Boeing have worked on RNPe and RNP AR procedures at two airports. Building a key collection of stakeholders, from Calgary and Oslo, has allowed the successful redesign of airspace as a building block. The approach of designing the airspace to enable growth for RNPe and RNP to GLS is quite unique. Once standards are published and avionics equipage grows, redesigning airspace will be minimal to implement RNPe and RNP to GLS because they could use the same RNP AR tracks. Calgary and Oslo are successful pathfinder projects that leverage existing airplane technology and air navigation service providers’ knowledge to enhance airspace operations. These projects are driving new ICAO and states rulemaking by maximizing Performance Based Navigation (PBN) concepts and methodologies. RNP AR and RNPe solutions derived from these projects are being replicated across the globe at many airports within the Americas, Europe, and Asia. About the project Required navigation performance

(RNP) is a performance-based navigation allowing aircraft to fly a predefined 3D path. RNP authorization required (AR) differs from regular area navigation (RNAV) in that the airplane monitors its position, and if the airplane senses it is beyond a required specification, it alerts the pilot. RNPe (RNP established) enables a change in separation standards that allows aircraft to turn to align to the runway much closer to the airport without the need to use the standard 1,000 feet of vertical or 3 nm lateral separation. Boeing/ Jeppesen is working with teams at NAV CANADA and in Oslo to maximise the use of the aircraft equipment, as well as redesign airspace to implement shorter, curved approaches allowing simultaneous approach operations to parallel runways. By using both RNP AR curved approach procedures and RNPe separation standards, the teams are developing the capability of greater flexibility to more aircraft and airlines without the need for exceptions based on equipment or aircrew limitations. In Oslo, the team developed some of the first RNP AR curve approach procedures in Europe, which are provisioned for using RNPe during simultaneous parallel runway operations and combined with a precision approach for all weather operations.

RETINA Brings Augmented Reality to the Tower


Once standards are published and avionics equipage grows, redesigning airspace will be minimal to implement RNPe and RNP to GLS.

In Calgary, the team developed an RNP AR providing shorter flight paths, reduced fuel consumption, and reduced noise over several communities. The stakeholders are

replicating the Oslo airspace design solutions at focused Norwegian airports and plan to leverage Oslo and Calgary to other airports in Europe and the US.

On the implementation of new technology: “The concern is are we making it better and safer? Or are we just changing because it is the hot thing to do? Change is good if it makes it safer and better, but if it doesn’t there is no reason to change.” – Paul Rinaldi, President, National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA)

AeroMACS Brought Them Here, And World ATM Congress Impressed


uring a 9 March presentation, Sara Bagassi, University of Bologna, explained RETINA: Resilient Synthetic Vision for Advanced Control Air Navigation Service. RETINA is part of a two-year SESAR exploratory research project to investigate the applicability of synthetic tools and virtual/augmented reality (V/AR) display techniques for air traffic control. Bagassi said RETINA, which is a synthetic overlay superimposed on the tower view, offers a head-up view of airport traffic even in low visibility conditions. A see-through head-mounted display provides a comprehensive view to the user. Bagassi cited SRK Taxonomy data, which shows that adverse working conditions like low visibility can consume a lot of cognitive resources that could otherwise be used to do things like identify the correct taxiway for an aircraft. RETINA can make constraints visible and thus improve controllers’ decision-making processes, she said.


World ATM Congress 2017 welcomed members of the Chinese delegation. World ATM Now spoke with two members, from left, Tony Tang, Deputy General Manager, AOC Department, Aviation Data Communication Corp. (ADCC), and Ma Hui, Assistant to President, ADCC.



Madrid 2017

Remote Tower Contract Signing Between Ports of Jersey and Searidge Technologies Further Cements World ATM Congress as The Place To Do Business! and Channel Islands Airspace. The Searidge system itself consists of a display feature showing a 220 degree view of the airfield, emulating the view that air traffic officers see from their control tower. The system also boasts two zoom cameras, which allows for a detailed close-up views of aircraft both on the ground and in the


ersey Airport is set to become the first provider of Remote Tower Service technology in the British Isles following a major development programme with leading aviation specialists, Systems Interface Ltd and Searidge Technologies (Canada). Certisa Ltd will be providing the Safety Assurance elements of this project. The contract was signed and initiative was launched at the World ATM Congress. The decision

by Ports of Jersey to implement this technology was driven by its wish to increase its capability of continuing to provide air traffic services in the event of a catastrophic technical failure of equipment or the need to evacuate the main ATC facility at Jersey Airport. This means that the Visual Control Room and Approach Facility can still be operated from a remote location, allowing aircraft to continue to operate in and out of Jersey Airport

surrounding airspace. The system is completed with a touch screen Human Machine Interface (HMI), which enables intuitive operation of the remote tower system functionality and has the capability to quickly observe "hot spot" areas of interest on the airfield, thereby enhancing safety and situational awareness.

ATCA President Peter F. Dumont and CANSO Director General Jeff Poole welcome Íñigo de la Serna Hernáiz, Minister, Spain’s Ministry of Public Works and Transport, and other executives to World ATM Congress on 7 March.


Madrid 2017



Three ANSPs Share Details of Their Remote Tower Live Trials


ot only are remote towers now a reality, but several live trials have been completed in Europe. During Searidge Technologies’ panel discussion on Wednesday, representatives from three ANSPs gave details on their remote tower initiatives and answered audience questions. Daniele Teotino, Head of SESAR JU Activity Coordination, ENAV SpA, said ENAV’s two-year project at Milano Malpensa was completed in November 2016. Malpensa is the third-largest Italian airport in terms of movement, with a traffic volume of 160,000. The remote trials included 25 hours in passive shadow mode and 10 hours of live trials. There were 118 movements during the live trials. Technology included panoramic and distributed camera airport views. Five “hot-spot” cameras ensured automatic detection of aircraft in each location. There was also an integrated display of surveillance data, electronic flight strips, advanced surface movement guidance and control systems (A-SMGCS), and customised overlays. In addition, there were infrared cameras, which Teotino said


were not necessary at night but were good for low-visibility conditions. “Eight controllers took part, and feedback in terms of feasibility and usability of the concept was positive. But some additional work and study is required,” he said. Overall, Teotino said controllers were surprised by the high quality of the images, and how they could provide more information than seen by the human eye. Teotino noted that there are 42 airports in Italy, half of which are regional, low-density, and economically challenged. Remote towers could be solutions, he said, but guidelines would need to be addressed by SESAR. In Hungary, HungaroControl conducted remote tower live trials to determine what to do with the aging tower for the two-runway, 90,000-traffic volume Budapest Airport. “We had to decide whether to renovate the tower, build a new one, or try to implement a remote tower as a permanent solution,” said Dezso Dudas, Chief Research and Development Architect, HungaroControl. The Budapest remote tower trials included 405 hours in passive shadow mode and 125 hours of live

From left, Marcus Cochrane, ATC Program Manager/ATCO, Ports of Jersey, Daniele Teotino, Head of SESAR JU activity coordination, ENAV SpA, and Dezso Dudas, Chief Research and Development Architect, HungaroControl, talk about remote tower live trials.

trials. There were 586 movements during the live trials. Technology included matrix presentation of the aerodrome by a distributed camera system, integrated surface surveillance data, electronic lists, A-SMGCS, and customised overlays. There were also customised controller working positions.

Dudas said the trials were so successful that HungaroControl expects to implement remote tower technology as the airport’s live solution within two years. “Our 13 air traffic controllers had doubts it would work, but by the end » continued on page 10



Madrid 2017

Stakeholders Take a Global View of Virtual Towers


uring a 7 March afternoon session in the Frequentis Aviation Arena, representatives from three groups discussed their varying viewpoints on the burgeoning new technology of virtual towers. The topic is particularly relevant at World ATM Congress 2017 because just seven months ago, the first active shadow-mode operation was launched at a DFS regional airport in Germany that has about 10,000 movements per year. According to Thomas Fraenzl, Business Development Manager, Remote Virtual Tower, Frequentis, six controllers provided air traffic control service for the airport from a remote control centre. They handled 200 flights in five days, with up to seven concurrent movements. “There was 100 percent continuous operation, and it was a big success,” he said. Frequentis is now making plans to use remote tower technology in a large airport in Vienna. And the company is working on Remote Tower 2.0, which Fraenzl said can add “so many benefits for the us-

ers,” including enhanced 360-degree infrared vision; automatic pantilt-and-zoom tracking; full-scale controller working position (CWP), and compact CWP, and surveillance integration. But in order to accomplish this vision, the industry needs controller buy-in, said IFACTA President and CEO Patrik Peters. “The first time we heard about remote virtual towers 10 years ago, we thought they weren’t going to work,” he said. “But now the technology has changed. The towers make sense in a remote area where no one wants to work, and the cameras can give a much better view than physically looking out of tower.” Nevertheless, Peters said IFACTA has concerns about some of the technological applications. First of all, he said, controllers want to know whether costs or safety are key drivers. “Have you ever been driving two cars at the same time? Because that’s essentially where we’re going. You can switch between Tower A and Tower B, but there’s a risk in that,” he said. “From a service position, money can be

Attendees look at slides during the Industry Education – Virtual Towers session at the Frequentis Aviation Arena.

saved. But there’s an old saying of why change a running system? We are very safety-critical, so the technology has to be 100 percent safe.” Fraenzl countered with an anecdote from Henry Ford. “He said if he would have asked customers what they would have liked, they

would have said a faster horse, not a car. Sometimes change has to be imposed on an existing system.” Fraenzl said Frequentis tried different screens and automation features, and went with the ones » continued on page 10


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Madrid 2017 Remote Towers » continued from page 8

of the trial they were convinced,” he said. “The surprising thing is that nothing unexpected happened.” HungaroControl hired a human-change management specialist to help with the transition. On the island of Jersey in the English Channel, the Ports of Jersey ANSP is planning to start remote tower live trials in June, said Marcus Cochrane, ATC Program Manager/ATCO, Ports of Jersey. Jersey airport has a traffic volume of 47,000. Cochrane said the live trials will include panoramic out-of-the-window views of the entire airport, PTZ cameras providing detailed hot-spot surveillance, and customised visual concept-of-operations for tower contingency. “It’s important to identify what you want to achieve,” Cochrane said. “One size does not fit all, and you can have ‘death by technology’ for controllers. From a user’s point of view, we need to answer questions like ‘is it a distraction, what benefit will it provide, and is it appropriate for the task we want to achieve?’”


Virtual Towers » continued from page 9

the controllers liked. This is important, Peters said, because if “you don’t make controllers part of the change, it will fail. I urge the suppliers to listen to the controllers. This is key to success. If you get controllers involved, they will make it work for you.” Regulatory framework for remote virtual towers is another important issue. Crystal Kim, Technical Officer, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), said her organisation is focusing on an “incremental approach, with a basic framework to allow brave pioneers to make best use of new technologies.” After examining its regulations, ICAO issued a two-page document that pertains specifically to remote virtual towers. The document mainly addresses the regulatory language that calls for “continuous watch through visual operations.” Kim said the issue was whether the language was broad enough to allow direct eye-out-of-the-window operation. “It took about six months to find the solution,” she said. ICAO decided to clarify the “visual operation” term to allow remote observation. However, Kim pointed out this pro-

vision is optional for each member state and its air navigation service providers (ANSPs)—although it must be approved by a state organisation. As remote virtual tower technology develops, Kim said ICAO is urging users to forward best-practice information to the organisation for future guidance materials.

Highlights “Remote towers have great potential, but we always have to think about the right level of service, the right use cases, and the risk,” she said. “ICAO regulatory framework won’t solve all the problems you have. Make your provisions, make it work for you, and we’re looking forward to hearing your views and concerns.”

“Career managers need to have a role in any transition of a new operating system, government or corporate,” said Andy Taylor, FAA Managers Association, during the 8 March ATC Corporatisation session.

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Highlights Madrid 2017 NOW Black Box Has Already Signed On As A New Exhibitor For World ATM Congress 2018. What Are You Waiting For?


lack Box is a leading technology and communications provider focused on designing, sourcing, and implementing high-performance AV, KVM, and networking solutions for control rooms that provide customers with the best signal connectivity infrastructure and solutions for data visualisation, system management, and collaboration. The extensive product portfolio ranges from desktop switches and point-to-point video-, audio-, and USB-extenders, to high-performance KVM matrix switches, virtual desktopextension solutions and video wall controllers for setting up professional video

Conversations and networking take place all over the Exhibition Hall at World ATM Congress 2017.

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In his opening address on 7 March, Íñigo de la Serna Hernáiz, Minister, Spain’s Ministry of Public Works and Transport, announced that ENAIRE, the Spanish ANSP, proposed a cumulative fee reduction of 11.5 percent during 2018-2020 in its strategic plan – a decrease in en route fees that could save airlines approximately €184m and stimulate further air traffic growth.

Indra demonstrates its capabilities on World ATM Congress’ Exhibition Hall floor.

Stephane Durand, Executive Director of DSNA Services, and David Crisp, CEO of Aveillant, sign a partnership agreement to develop a complete counter-drone surveillance solution capable of detection, identification, and tracking within a radius of 5 kilometres.


Madrid 2017 Geopolitical » continued from page 1

Put simply, we always expect the unexpected,” he said. “But it’s vital that airlines are financially robust and able to withstand these shockwaves.” For instance, Walsh said IAG did not take a position on the Brexit vote, but did conclude that the United Kingdom’s succession from the European Union will not have a significant impact on its business in the long term. However, he said IAG is seeing short-term changes due to the falling of the pound, with a €460 million loss in 2016. As Brexit progresses, IAG wants the British regulatory environment to remain about the same as it today. The company is pressing to continue strong access to international markets. “The UK and EU need an opensky agreement,” Walsh said. “Aviation is a global industry, and anything short of open skies would be a massive retrograde.” Walsh said one area where legacy airlines were slow to react was in the rise of low-cost carriers. They initially thought that the low-cost model would not translate to the long-haul market, but Walsh said the rise of Norwegian Air Shuttle in the last couple years shows that’s not true. Overall, though, he said companies like Ryanair and easyJet have been good for the industry. “It would probably be half the size it is today if not for the advent of low-cost airlines.” Walsh also said one thing that’s harming the industry is the rash of



NOW European air traffic controller strikes. Last year, there were 41 strike days, making it a record year. “ATM is a noble profession, but unfortunately it’s a role that can be quite isolated from customer and commercial reality,” he said. “Regular strikes have become a reality and are totally unacceptable.” Walsh cited a study that found that air traffic strikes have cost the EU

to jump back to pre-global financialcrisis numbers,” he said. Pearce said several factors have influenced this anemic economic growth. First of all, “We haven’t solved the debt problem. It’s just as high as it was at the time of the global financial crisis,” he said. Secondly, a retreat in global trade has stalled growth since 2012. And aging labor forces in countries like Japan, China,

Willie Walsh, CEO, IAG, and IATA Chair, responds to questions during Session One: Responding to Geopolitical Change and Black Swans.

economy $12 billion since 2010. AIG is a member of Airlines for Europe (A4E), which is lobbying to create a better environment for airlines—including fewer strikes. Chief Economist of IATA Brian Pearce expanded on Walsh’s discussion of ATM financials. His main message was that the industry shouldn’t take long-term economic forecasts too seriously. “The world is stuck on a lowgrowth path even though the IMF (International Monetary Fund) has been expecting the global economy

Germany, Russia, and Italy aren’t helping major economies. Finally, interest rates are stalling, especially in the US, where they’ve hovered near zero percent since 2010. In the ATM world, Pearce said IATA has also made wrong forecasts. But unlike the IMF, IATA has underestimated growth rather than overestimated. Passenger air travel has been much stronger than anticipated, but cargo volumes are more subdued. “We’ve seen an enormous amount of price stimulation—partly because of new entry of low-cost carriers,”

Pearce said. The collapse of oil prices has also added as much as three percentage points to air travel growth over the last few years. Pearce said Australia, Spain, the UK, Canada, the US, and Italy have the most potential for air travel growth over the next 10 years. In these highgrowth countries, the average member of the population takes two to three airplane trips a year. In low-growth countries like Malaysia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, India, and Vietnam, people take less than one trip on average. But as they move into upper-income categories, “We expect to see pretty strong multiplier effects for air travel for each member of those populations over the next 10 years,” Pearce said. Over the next 20 years, IATA predicts China, the US, and India will have the biggest projected growth in domestic markets. And the top aviation markets overall are projected to be China, the US, India, and the UK. “We know the trend for global air travel is heading up, but we’re not sure we can be confident about how steep the line will be,” Pearce said. If global geopolitical policies stay constant, there could be a doubling of air traffic over the next 20 years, he said. An open-border/reflation scenario could triple traffic, but an increased emphasis on global protectionism could limit expansion to as little as 50 percent. “My theme is we really don’t know, so we need to plan accordingly, create options, and develop flexibility,” Pearce said.

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