Navigating air traffic management challenges

Passenger numbers are set to reach record highs in 2024, and we see airports looking for enhancements to deal with capacity and air traffic controller workload.

- Geneva, Switzerland.

In the realm of Air Traffic Management (ATM), the absence of a unified global framework on resilience underscores a significant challenge. This gap leads to disparate national solutions, highlighting the need for a cohesive approach to ensure the reliability and continuity of air navigation services worldwide. Recently, at the ATM Users Experience Conference in Helsinki, industry leaders from over 20 Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) convened to address pressing issues and chart a course for the future.

The conference shone a light on the theme of digital transformation and its profound impacts on ATM. As one participant noted, similar to the intricate operations of a Formula 1 race car, modern ATM systems rely on a plethora of sensors and real-time data. However, success hinges not only on technology but also on the synergy between processes and people.

Key for us are solutions that increase ATM productivity, performance, and resilience, while also committing to green aviation. These are our considerations:


Productivity is vital to the evolution of ATM. With heightened competition and escalating demands from airspace users, ANSPs are compelled to enhance operational efficiency to ensure not only improved passenger experience but also reduce costs. Technologies like remote digital towers offer promising solutions, yet the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI), although promising precision and efficiency, brings some scepticism among ATM operational staff of its reliability and security.


High performance is equally critical to aviation and so every development must be guided by the need for operations to be reliable, scalable, and, above all, safe. The continued digitalisation of the ATM IT infrastructure allows for new approaches to digital applications and solutions. Open, digital platforms, as already widely used in mainstream IT, is taking its steps into ATM. We are happy that we started this digital transformation roadmap years ago and have already transitioned many ANSPs towards a new, ATM-grade, digital platform. The sheer amount of available computing power today offers new possibilities and approaches to cloud-based or distributed systems. The whole sector is challenged by those new possibilities: industry, ANSPs and also regulators must adopt and find new ways to ensure safety and reliability.


As ATM infrastructure evolves and becomes a prime target for disruption, resilience grows in significance. Whether from natural disasters or malicious acts like hacking, it is clear of the need for continuous operation and the need to retain legacy infrastructure as a fallback measure. In recent times, we have learnt that resilience relies on the inclusion of technological precautions, , thoroughly planned contingency processes, and, most importantly the human factor. However, the industry still has not agreed on a harmonised concept and approach, leading to a multitude of diverse solutions across the world. It is great to see advances here by CANSO, such as the newly released “Planning for the expected and unexpected”.

The concept of virtualisation, in the form of virtual centres or remote digital towers is one way to increase resilience of the ATM system, while “digital immunity” is essential to maintain resilience and ensure continued operation after disruptions.

Green aviation

The industry is committed to driving a greener, more sustainable future. We believe sustainability is not just a trend but a necessity. As such, we are dedicated to promoting sustainable practices in our operations.

Sustainability, embodied by initiatives like the CANSO GreenATM scheme, is gaining momentum as the industry embraces eco-friendly practices. Although there are many advancements the challenges remain and the transition to the future requires us to embrace innovation.

The collaborative approach

Navigating the transition to the future of ATM while ensuring safety and reliability of legacy equipment involves significant costs and efforts. It calls for a collaborative approach with partners who share a common vision and are prepared to safeguard existing systems while embracing innovation.

As a reliable partner in ATM for years, we remain committed to navigating these challenges alongside our customers. Our investment in cutting-edge technology is matched by our unwavering commitment to operational integrity. Furthermore, our expansion in local regions underscores our dedication to fostering growth and resilience on a global scale.

Within this landscape, we stand ready to collaborate, fully committed to our clients and the industry. Recognising the complexities ahead, we are set to face these challenges together.


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