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The World ATM Congress 2021 Experience: the ATM Industry is Ready to Take Off

World ATM Congress is the world’s largest international Air Traffic Management (ATM) event, connecting experts, product developers, thought leaders, and Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) during three days of thought-provoking conferences, product demonstrations, launches, contract closures, and networking opportunities in Madrid, Spain. The 2021 edition was the first one in the pandemic context and managed to attract 6,000 attendees from 110 countries and 50 exhibitors. The event was opened by his Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain.

The JLG Consulting delegation had the opportunity to participate with SkyRoster and gather unparalleled insights into key advancements in the ATM industry, technology improvements, and trends that will continue to shape the future of global aviation.

We had several meetings with representatives of ANSPs and addressed pressing issues such as the adaptation of the Air Traffic Controllers’ rostering to the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining the licenses' validities in low traffic conditions, as well as the start of a survey for the evaluation of the rostering process in various ANSPs and ways of optimizing it.

The pandemic made innovation in ATM take off

This year’s experience confirmed our expectations: the pandemic led to a surge in technological advancements within this space. To quote Sharon Cooke, CEO of Airways New Zealand,

the difficulties that we had forced us to think differently, and we want to keep the momentum going.

We attended a handful of impressive remote tower technologies, drones, Urban Air Mobility (UAM), and Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) demonstrations. To name just a few solutions that caught our attention:

  • Indra’s Digital Remote Tower is a solution that makes it possible to manage airports remotely, as its AI-based technology provides a wide array of automated functions such as visual detection, tracking and labeling in panorama, and fusion with ground tracking systems.

  • We also had the opportunity to see Flyox I, the biggest and most versatile civil drone ever made, in action.

  • ENAIRE presented ENAIRE PLANEA, a unique platform designed to manage unconventional drone operations, human-crewed aircraft, and other airspace uses seamlessly through a large number of intelligent features.

  • Volocopter teamed up with Fiumicino Airport to turn air taxis into a reality in 2024, aiming for zero emissions, minimal noise, and an accessible price point.

SkyRoster’s cordial reception in the world of big players

We had the honor to interact for the first time with some representatives of South-East European ANSPs and demonstrate the applicability of our solution. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that one of the operations directors’ incentives to attend this year’s edition of the World ATM Congress was to test out our solution. The positive feedback paved the way for a potential collaboration by the end of 2021.

Another operations director has been testing SkyRoster since 2020 and had the opportunity to see the new version, which will be launched in the near future. We thoroughly and proudly used the existent users’ constructive feedback to upgrade the solution with new features, and we are beyond excited to show you the latest version.

As there is nothing we appreciate more than the fair competition that leads to exchanging ideas and honest feedback, meeting Max Bezzina, Ingenav’s CEO, was an absolute delight. We were thrilled to see their Competence Management presentation and had a great chat about the challenges we’ve encountered throughout our product development journeys.

Another key point to mention was the online meeting with the ATM Planning Manager from one of Central America’s ANSPs, who welcomed the idea of gaining access to SkyRoster’s cloud platform to conduct performance testing.

We had another meeting with a consulting firm from the Netherlands, which will initiate a research project on Fatigue and Stress Management in the ATC industry. Following this meeting, they decided to evaluate the opportunity to use the SkyRoster platform as support for this research project. This would be a win-win for both parties. We benefit from an additional validation of the fatigue management parameters in our rostering system. They have quick access to a cloud platform in which they can perform various rostering simulations for Air Traffic Controllers with different fatigue parameters. At the same time, they can accurately measure the outputs of these simulations and extract essential insights for the research they carry out.

Another meeting was with an ATM consulting firm from the UK, which works on consultancy projects to implement Remote Tower technology in various ANSPs. We discussed a potential partnership to offer SkyRoster as the rostering platform of the controllers in these Remote Towers.

We also had a productive discussion with the CEO of an ATM Market Intelligence company, with whom we initialed a partnership to expand the sales network for SkyRoster.

The bottom line

We were thrilled to be an active part of this year’s edition of the World ATM Congress and see how our industry fellows work tirelessly to shape a better, smarter, more sustainable future for global aviation, in spite of hard contextual constraints. We are excited to see what the future holds for SkyRoster and our partners.

Madrid, see you soon!

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