Game changer in operations


There are many interest groups in aviation in Europe which are particularly involved when it comes to the operational future of our industry.

Airports have organised themselves through ACI Europe, airlines in IATA and A4E, and the trade unions in groups such as ATCEUC or ETF. Operational topics, such as concepts, implementation projects and the associated regulatory aspects are then discussed by these interest groups in the EUROCONTROL Network Management Board. For some years now, these groups have held increasingly closer exchanges with EASA.

A number of air navigation service providers are already organised in the A6 when it comes to SESAR issues. Overall, however, European air navigation service providers have not yet positioned themselves so well regarding the operational future of aviation. For example, no dedicated interest group in Europe has been established so far. This is now about to change.

With this in mind, we succeeded in recently bringing together many Chief Operating Officers (COOs) from air navigation service providers in the first meeting of the so-called CANSO Europe COO Forum. In this forum, we discussed how we can better position ourselves, how we want to coordinate with other interest groups and which operational topics are particularly important to us. DFS played a key role in organising and preparing the forum.

The topics that the COOs wrote down there on their to-do list fit with the exciting title of ‘Game changer’, as already mentioned in the headline. 

The following game changers, among others, were named at our first meeting:

  • ATCO Workforce Management and Development (lack of ATCOs, fatigue, ageing of ATCOs, attracting talents)
  • Trajectory-based operations (lessons learned and mitigations, improvements of the trajectory prediction)
  • Civil-Military cooperation and airspace allocation challenges for fifth-generation aircraft

While working on this content, I could already see that many COOs, and thus their respective ANSPs, are currently facing similar challenges. Therefore I see a good chance that we can establish common positions on these operational topics.

In the afternoon immediately following our meeting, we held initial talks with ACI Europe, A4E, IATA and the Network Manager to exchange mutual expectations for future cooperation.

I am now looking forward to our next forum in November. There we hope to draw up more detailed elaborations of some of the game changers. If we succeed in identifying or developing common views, we will then position ourselves accordingly vis-à-vis the Network Management Board and EASA. 

See you soon!

About the Author

Dirk Mahns, COO of DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH describes the recent establishment of the CANSO Europe COO Forum and describes what it hopes to achieve.


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