ATTI roundtable discussion: DFS, NATS and Skyguide discuss digitalisation of the future

- Langen, Germany.

Last Wednesday, Friedrich-Wilhelm Menge, Chief Technology Officer at DFS, discussed the technological future of air navigation service providers (ANSPs) in Europe with representatives of NATS and Skyguide.

More than 400 participants followed the virtual roundtable discussion on their screens, which was organised by the industry magazine Air Traffic Technology International and sponsored by the DFS subsidiary DFS Aviation Services. The audience asked more than 60 questions, showing their keen interest in the event. Some of the questions were taken up by the panel of experts - answering all of them would have been beyond the scope of the event.

Prioritise investments

The current Corona crisis challenges ANSPs with prioritising technology investments needed for the future, despite low traffic numbers and revenues. In 2019, ANSPs struggled with capacity constraints, while COVID-19 reduced air traffic by more than 50 per cent in Europe last year.

Panelists stressed that it was particularly important to create flexible solutions facing such volatility. The Chief Technology Officer at the Swiss ANSP, Skyguide, Klaus Meier, stressed the importance of an open, modular architecture. Friedrich-Wilhelm Menge highlighted the use of cloud technologies, more standardisation and efficient data management. "Our current systems stand side by side. However, we need a horizontal approach where we use cloud technologies on which applications are built, while the actual workstations can be easily configured based on the specific requirements of the user roles and will have few technical dependencies on the applications. If we want to act faster and more flexibly in the future, we need a decoupling of all infrastructure modules in the long term."

“A cultural change”

Participants at the forum agreed that it was imperative that the entire aviation industry engaged in increased data sharing. Andy Taylor, Chief Solutions Officer Digital Towers at the UK's air navigation service provider NATS, said: this would require a cultural change".

A recording of the event can be viewed at the following link:

ATTI roundtable discussion:  DFS, NATS and Skyguide discuss digitalisation of the future

ATTI roundtable discussion:  DFS, NATS and Skyguide discuss digitalisation of the future

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