Airspace Q4 2018: From the Director General

17 December 2018

Issue 43 of Airspace, the last in the tenth anniversary year of the magazine, celebrates success. We asked CANSO Members to send us their success stories from 2018. What we received represents just a small proportion of what CANSO Members are achieving but the submissions illustrate the extraordinary energy and dedication across the ATM industry to constantly analyse and improve ATM performance. The success stories highlight not just innovation and cutting edge technologies but the power of partnership and managing change. Above all they are about delivering results.

There are great examples of innovation and cutting edge technology. For example, Loon's high-altitude balloons, which will provide Internet access to Africa in 2019, have been successful in 2018 in using advanced predictive models and algorithms to determine the optimal altitude to take advantage of winds in the stratosphere. Many of the air traffic management techniques and technologies Loon is developing are likely to have wider applications across the industry.

Drones are another recent entrant to airspace. Swiss ANSP, skyguide, and AirMap have partnered to develop and deploy Europe's first national drone management system in Switzerland. ENAIRE is deploying U-space in Spain.

Technology is helping controllers manage increasing air traffic demand. NATS' electronic flight strip system, EXCDS, became fully operational in 2018 and helps controllers safely manage some of the busiest and most complex airspace in the world. Entry Point North opened its new academy in September to train Belgocontrol staff using state of the art simulators and other training aids. Frequentis has recently upgraded the Caribbean satellite telecommunications network to provide faster and more secure voice transmissions. Rohde & Shwarz is implementing IP-based voice systems for controllers to communicate more reliably and flexibly in New Zealand. And IATAS is focusing on improving aircraft clearance delivery over controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC).

There are excellent examples of effective partnership. Six functional airspace blocks (FABs) worked together in 2018 to understand and mitigate the impact of air traffic volatility through case studies, data analysis, sharing best practice and workshops. One result was three FABs coming together in the third quarter of 2018 to introduce a set of procedures to deal with adverse weather conditions in the Alps, using an automated data exchange to distribute traffic more evenly. Another effective partnership was five ANSPs which launched the South East Common Sky Initiative Free Route Airspace (SECSI FRA) in February. It will reduce flight distances 600,000-700,000 nautical miles a year.

The success stories are not just about technological achievement. They are also about how the industry successfully manages technological changes for its work force. In 2018 HungaroControl not only installed the world's largest fully-capable and certified digital tower, but ensured that it incorporated the end users in the design and implementation process. I hope you enjoy the success stories. Celebrating success will also be the theme of the CANSO Global ATM Summit that takes place alongside the CANSO Annual General Meeting, in Geneva, Switzerland in June 2019. I look forward to hearing many more stories of success from CANSO Members between now and then. In the meantime, in this last edition of

Airspace in 2018, I wish you all a successful 2019.


  • Airspace Magazine

Subscribe to the CANSO publications