Adapting to change in ATM and creating the right culture

collaboration deskAs the UK’s designated Meteorological Air Navigation Service Provider, the Met Office Aviation team has a keen interest in the changing face of the Air Traffic Management (ATM) industry.

Last week we attended the World ATM Congress in Madrid, the 5th Anniversary of this event for the Air Traffic Management industry. This year’s World ATM congress event was billed as “Adapting to change in ATM- creating the right culture” and there appeared to be a more liberalised, innovation driven theme running through the proceedings with a recognition that the regulated, safety driven ATM operation was slow to change – set against an increasing need to do so.

One issue cited was that big change projects have started over the years and often have not succeeded or realised their potential. While big change is needed in the industry, it is also becoming clear that aiming for perfection from the beginning of a project is impossible – it’s better to achieve change by taking many small steps – evolution rather than revolution.

SESAR continues to be an area where there is lots of change and innovation. The SESAR stand was busy and their panels and forums showed the wide variety of organisations involved who have a stake in SES (Single European Sky) future concepts. The Met Office is involved in a number of SESAR related activities, you can find out more here.

The SWIM (System Wide Information Management) principle is starting to show real examples of where the sharing of information in agreed; easy to use formats can benefit the whole community and speed the development of new capabilities. There are ongoing projects around SWIM that will come to fruition and help with setting standards, ensuring governance, and defining technical architectures over the coming years. The enablement of SWIM technology will mean that everyone who needs aviation, ATM and meteorological information can access it with the aim of making the industry more streamlined and efficient.

Another key theme from the Congress was integrating UAV operations in to ATM. There were a notable number of new safety platform solutions emerging this year and continued development of the regulation of this key growth area. The effect of weather on drone operations has long been understood, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Met Office will need to work with the industry to understand requirements and user needs to implement useful solutions. Again, here we need to remain a safety driven industry whilst allowing for innovation and improvements in technology.

There was an appreciation that meteorological information could be used more in the operational environment, in network planning, and to realise further efficiencies. It is widely understood that bad weather is responsible for the majority of airport delay and a significant proportion of en route delay and we continue to work with industry stakeholders to mitigate its impacts on operations.

The ATM Congress is a great place to hear from industry leaders such as Violeta Bulc, Willie Walsh, and Martin Rolfe, and to meet various industry stakeholders from around the world, providing understanding to some of the key topics for ATM across the globe. Madrid was a great host city for the Congress – great food, hospitality and weather!

The World ATM Congress 2017 team- Lauren, Jon, Emma and Ian

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