#CANSOOperations19: Industry partnerships are key to creating seamless skies


Doug Davis, Director of Airworthiness at Northrop Grumman and CANSO Operations Standing Committee Vice Chair, shares his thoughts on CANSO Global ATM Operations Conference 2019.

It was a great opening day at the CANSO Global ATM Operations Conference 2019 at DFS Headquarters in Langen, Germany. With our focus being Making Seamless Operations a Reality, it kicked off on a strong path with a message from Professor Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, Chairman and CEO of DFS, CANSO Operations Standing Committee (OSC) Executive Committee Champion, and host of the conference.

Mr. Scheurle challenged attendees to look seriously at how we can take the current ATM system we have now, and together examine the issues that are preventing us from improving capacity, safety, and efficiency, and decide what steps CANSO Members and industry partners can take to remove any barriers.

Mr. Scheurle was followed by Simon Hocquard, Deputy Director General of CANSO.  Simon echoed the words of Klause-Dieter and explained how CANSO has a key role in facilitating better cooperation and collaboration within the industry. Additionally, these conferences serve to highlight how CANSO can undertake this. 

The conference keynote speaker, Gerhard Thiele, provided an insight very few in the world can. In 2000, as a NASA astronaut, Mr. Theile was aboard the space shuttle mission STS-99 as a mission specialist on the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), which was dedicated to the first three-dimensional digital mapping of Earth’s surface on a near global scale. He provided the delegates with an insight into what it is like to be aboard the shuttle and to experience weightless. “There is no space as borderless as space” said Dr. Thiele, encouraging the audience to strive for borderless commonality, with the understanding that it will take time.

After a networking break we were challenged with a riveting debate on how to make seamless operations a reality, setting the stage for tomorrow’s discussion on airspace, networks and people, and setting a new reality. What is clear is that we cannot achieve seamless airspace by ourselves. Industry partners, international organisations, regulators and States all have important roles. They can help harmonise standards, regulations and procedures. Efficient cross-border service provision can also be enabled by States adopting a network approach rather than focusing just on national interests for example. Ultimately, what was clear is that CANSO is leading the discussion to transform the global ATM system, and is inviting the whole aviation community to join the journey of discovery.

About the Author

Doug Davis

Director of Airworthiness at Northrop Grumman and CANSO Operations Standing Committee Vice Chair

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