Speaking yesterday at CANSO’s Sixth World Air Traffic Management (ATM) Congress in Madrid, Spain, ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu told the gathered experts and leaders that airspace design and management would be changing dramatically in the years ahead “as more and more aircraft enter into service which fly higher, lower, faster, and much slower than those we manage today.”
“Today’s incredibly rapid rate of technological progress is now forcing us to acknowledge that a revolution is underway, with UAS navigating residential and urban environments for a wide range of purposes at one end of the spectrum, and high-altitude balloons, RPAS, and super- or hyper-sonic aircraft jetting across the stratosphere at the other.”
Regarding current commercial operations, Dr. Aliu stressed ICAO’s prioritization of the worldwide adoption of Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) approaches, underscoring the promise which ATFM holds out for more cost-, time- and fuel-efficient operations.
“ATFM optimizes the existing capacities of the air traffic management system through the more precise coordination of take-offs and landings,” he remarked. This means aircraft don’t find themselves placed into costly holding patterns when they reach their destinations, and that while in flight they can be more quickly and accurately routed around constrained airspace and unexpected weather events.”
ICAO’s Council President also drew the audience’s attention to the fact that new space-based Automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B) technology should eventually serve as a truly global aircraft positioning solution, redefining how seamlessly modern ATM will function and delivering important efficiency and emissions-reduction advantages.
“We do not yet have a global ADS-B mandate, however by 2020 a number of States and regions will be ADS-B capable and many commercial aircraft will be equipped with suitable transponders.”
President Aliu also strongly underlined the responsibility of the entire air transport community to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of skilled personnel to manage this increasingly complex technological foundation for 21st century aviation, noting that ICAO’s Global Plans for Aviation Safety and Air Navigation included helpful targets to assist planners and investors looking to optimize their flight capacity and the socio-economic benefits of today’s nascent operations.
“The horizon now before us is one I am convinced we can reach if we continue to work together, and certainly CANSO will be looked to by ICAO to play a key role in how we shape and realize this bold new future together,” he concluded.
The Congress also offered President Aliu the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Public Works of Spain, Mr. Íñigo Joaquín de la Serna Hernáiz, with whom he endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding reached between ICAO and ENAIRE, the main provider of air navigation services in Spain. Through this memorandum, ENAIRE will contribute to the ICAO “No Country Left Behind” initiative. It provides for a new framework of cooperation between both organizations, enabling for example the development of training programs, professional mobility, and the donation of communications and air navigation equipment to countries that need to adapt and improve their systems.