CANSO Global ATM Safety Conference 2019: An industry perspective


Nicole Sparger, Deputy Director for Business Development for ATAC, gives an insight as to what the CANSO Global ATM Safety Conference 2019 meant to her.


Every attendee, speaker, participant, and associate affiliated with the CANSO Global ATM Safety Conference has one thing in common when it comes to aviation safety: passion.  The energy of the conference was inspiring beyond words, uniquely challenging the status-quo to achieve a level of excellence in the safety arena never seen before.

My personal goals for the conference were to meet the global aviation safety advocates in hopes of expanding my network and learning about past, current, and future safety objectives.  I was excited about the sessions that support data-driven decision-making and analytics because that is where my company, ATAC, excels. 


The conference made me think about aviation safety systemically and far exceeded my expectations in a motivating way.  In addition to learning about the work CANSO and aviation experts across the globe are undertaking, I was fascinated to be part of a team that encourages the “non-group-think” mentality in a respectful and committed way with an overarching goal of supreme excellence.  

Some topics included cybersecurity; “just” culture; paradigm shifts from event-driven safety data reporting to a more proactive, preemptive safety culture; collaboration amongst partners and ANSPs; transparency and promotion of data sharing; and much more.  UAM, UTM, new entrants, commercial space, and eVTOL aircraft are the future, so discussions revolving around their integration and sustainability were a highlight for me. 

Another highlight was the discussions about airspace hot spots and vetting data or flight trajectory paths to ascertain safety risk.  One of the apparent challenges for the community is the uneven distribution of aviation safety resources across ANSPs and how to maintain international unified safety metrics reporting and regulation. 

Moving Forward

I was one of the few participants at the conference not representing an ANSP.  I am encouraged that ATAC can assist as a service provider in parts of the aviation safety global community when the need arises.  For example, I envision the use of Human-In-The-Loop and Machine Learning technology to assist with autonomous advances along with artificial intelligence (AI), and look forward to more discussion about AI and how those methodologies could incorporate data to support better decision-making. 

This conference has motivated me personally to actively participate more in the Safety Performance Measurement Workgroup, as well as challenge my perspective of aviation safety today.  It is imperative that we keep our customers in mind as we approach safety initiatives and continue to promote collaboration and safety taxonomy throughout the global aviation safety arena. 

Today’s aviation world will certainly be different tomorrow and our aviation leaders must be ready for the dynamics, flexibility and overall adaptability required to stay “ahead of the curve.”  It was an honor and pleasure to participate in this conference and I look forward to the next!

Blue skies and forever tailwinds!

Conferences CANSO Safety