The role of big data in driving operational performance

23 May 2018

Mark Cooper, Partner – Aviation Technology, Deloitte, and CANSO Executive Committee Associate Member Representative, explores the benefits of big data and artificial intelligence in ATM

Safety will always be paramount in ATM but we as an industry need to the seize the opportunities afforded to us from a rapid increase in the pace and scope of technology, in particular the use of data to support automation and the emerging technologies that help us make sense of that data such as Artificial Intelligence (AI).

In Madrid at the CANSO CEO Summit Jonathan Neale of McLaren challenged us with how Formula 1 embraces risk whilst improving both safety and performance with data at the core of that transformation. Jonathan showed us the many parallels between Formula 1 and ATM, which although not instantly observable included, the role of the regulator, the fixed budget, the safety criticality and global audience watching every move. In Bangkok we will build on Jonathan's challenge and focus on the area of data and how data could be used in ATM to make better decisions faster.

As a data rich industry, big data definitely has the potential to help us improve operational performance if implemented correctly. As Jonathan said in Madrid, at McLaren they start with what constitutes operational excellence and then identify the people, process, tools and data that are needed to deliver that. Starting with data lake, some data scientists and asking "what can we find" will no doubt yield some interesting observations but will it truly identify business value?

Big data certainly isn't new, what is new is the emergence of technologies such as machine learning and AI to help make sense of the exponentially increasing volume of data we have today in our lives. Using AI and machine learning correctly should give us the ability to see around the corner at what is coming and make better decisions faster.

To help understand what big data actually is we will draw examples from other industries such as land transport and retail and use those to shine a spotlight on our ATM challenges discussing what needs to be done to help us as an industry deliver a better service to the customer whilst recognising the unique challenges of ATM. Personally, I'm excited to be able to share with you a presentation on big data in other industries at the CANSO Global ATM Summit 2018, and for Martin Rolfe and I to discuss work NATS and Deloitte are doing together with McLaren using big data and machine learning and the lessons we have learned so far. This is a very different topic for the summit and I hope one that draws active participation.

Hear the latest thought-leadership on big data from the industry and explore how CANSO is already using data to improve ATM operations at the CANSO Global ATM Summit 2018. View the full programme and register via the event page.


  • Conferences

About the author

Mark Cooper, Partner – Aviation Technology, Deloitte, and CANSO Executive Committee Associate Member Representative

Subscribe to the CANSO publications