COVID-19 – a time machine for aviation


Janusz Janiszewski, CEO of PANSA gives his perspective on how to overcome the current crisis and be prepared for future ones.

Time machine

As PANSA CEO, I try to turn a negative into a positive. Therefore, PANSA is approaching the current COVID-19 crisis with an openness to any opportunities it may bring. It has served as a kind of dual time travel machine. On the one hand, it has taken us – the ANSPs, airports and airlines – back to the traffic level of 15 years ago. On the other hand, it has pushed us into the future and forced us to use advanced technologies to work and communicate. I see this as a challenge rather than a threat.

PANSA wants to contribute to Europe’s recovery. This is why it is very important for us to focus on new investments to make our skies digital and more sustainable, in line with the requirements of the Single European Sky.

SES 2 opportunities

There are great hopes associated with the newly proposed SES2 legislative package, which is now being discussed.  I believe it will help us to manage future traffic growth, provided that it simplifies the institutional landscape and aims for cost-efficient solutions by optimising regulatory and administrative costs the stakeholders have to bear.

A more customer-oriented approach and a new operational landscape of service provision, including the creation of the ATM data service providers, are changes that I personally welcome. The concept may boost the market, however the operational stakeholders should be able to act freely, according to their needs and capabilities.

Another opportunity is the future cooperation with the Network Manager (NM). NM should act as an operational stakeholder responsible for coordinating the network functions, supporting the actions taken by other operational stakeholders at local level and delivering directly its own functions. All these responsibilities should be framed in a governance structure that recognises the role of operational stakeholders in the decision-making process.

What we need is a network-oriented approach for managing Europe’s ATM network. Only close, fair and equal cooperation among all the operational stakeholders, supported by a proper regulatory environment, will bring positive results for the whole aviation sector.

Strength of innovation

In our national context, PANSA has various strategies to overcome the crisis. It has forced an acceleration of our digital transformation, the emergence of new market segments – such as for drones – and the evolution of drone solutions, which in five years will be widely applied in many economic fields.

PANSA is already coordinating drones used for transport of medical samples, in cooperation with the Central Clinical Hospital of the MSWiA in Warsaw – and we have now entered a new phase of putting drones to use by the emergency services.

We are also investing in new technologies and developing our own, state-of-the-art, in-house solutions.

One example here is PansaUTM, the first digitalised, automated unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight coordination and flight plan management concept in Europe. This comprises PANSA’s own operational solutions and the system partly delivered by our technological partner HAWK-E and integrated with DroneRadar, the most popular application among drone operators in Poland.

Power of modernisation 

We also place great importance on research and development (R&D) to beat the crisis. As an institution whose competences and resources are unique in Poland, PANSA has consolidated them by initiating and co-creating NaviHub, a project for designing, deploying and testing innovative aviation projects in field conditions. This is comprised of a network of organisations, sites and equipment (Centre of Competence) as well as data, knowledge and experience (NaviLab) and infrastructure (NaviSpot).

I believe our investments in new technologies will continue keeping Polish skies safe and will help to maintain low delays levels during growing traffic in the future. And from the perspective of a passenger it will be more comfortable and faster.

A revolution is happening right now. As outlined, I believe PANSA can beat the crisis and gain much more than it loses. We can do this by making good use of past experience, and turning a challenge into an opportunity, thereby stepping into the future stronger, more scalable, more flexible and more crisis-resilient.

COVID-19 Europe