World ATM Congress 2018 opened this morning at IFEMA, Feria de Madrid. This year a record 237 exhibitors have registered to attend the world's largest air traffic management (ATM) event alongside thousands of aviation leaders for three days of conference sessions, product demonstrations and launches, contract closures, and networking. World ATM Congress is operated by the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) in partnership with the Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) and runs until 8 March.
With the deployment of modern technologies and new entrants such as drones now in operation, the conference programme explores the impact of rapidly changing skies with sessions on autonomous operations, as well as the changing face of partnerships and alliances in ATM. There will be short sessions on hot topics in four regions: Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean, and the Middle East.
In over 100 sessions across six free education theatres, experts will share their views on a wide range of issues. These include safely integrating new entrants like commercial space vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles into the airspace; the impact of digitisation and virtual centres on ATM; new technologies and procedures that improve the efficiency of airspace; and how new technologies, including automation, affect the role and training of air traffic controllers.
Íñigo de la Serna Hernáiz, Minister, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Spain, opened the conference of World ATM Congress today, discussing the importance of air transport to Spain, particularly the tourist industry, and how Spain was managing air traffic growth through modernisation and operational efficiencies. He announced that these efficiencies would enable Spain's air navigation service provider, ENAIRE, to lower route charges by 3 percent in 2018 and 12 percent in 2019. Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), considered how the challenges of aviation growth could be addressed through modernising infrastructure and procedures such as space-based surveillance and air traffic flow management. Eamonn Brennan, Director General of EUROCONTROL, said the current framework would not be able to meet future demand and explored how system interoperability, automation, digitisation, advance flow management and airspace architecture could help meet the challenge.
World ATM Congress is supporting Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. On Thursday morning World ATM Congress attendees will participate in a Guinness Book of World Records' attempt to launch the most paper airplanes at the same time across multiple time zones.