The theme of the CANSO Global ATM Operations Conference 2017 was ‘Game Changers in ATM Operations’. In his remarks to conference, Jeff Poole explored just some of these game changers; what they mean for the ATM industry; and what the industry needs to do to prepare for the future.
He welcomed the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry as new members of the aviation family and discussed how to ensure UAS can safely operate without being a threat to civil aviation through initiatives such as UAS Traffic Management (UTM). Access to any airspace should be determined by capabilities with a step-by-step performance-based approach with a priority on safety.
Jeff Poole outlined the safety, operational and commercial benefits of automation. He said that artificial intelligence or AI will also play an increasingly important role. He touched on other game changers such as the introduction of space-based ADS-B, digitisation in remote towers and improved aeronautical information systems.
All these game changers will enable the ATM industry to harmonise systems, processes and traffic flows without reference to national borders or even land based equipment. The challenge is persuading a traditional, human-centric and sometimes change-averse industry to take full advantage of these opportunities and embrace change; and in persuading ICAO and regulators to keep up with the rapid pace of technological developments.
Jeff Poole also looked at some of the developments in current and future operational measures that are making airspace more efficient and better harmonised. He gave examples of the work CANSO is doing to implement performance-based navigation (PBN), air traffic flow management (ATFM) and emissions reduction.