Making connections for ATM progress


Rudy Kellar, Executive Vice President, Service Delivery for NAV CANADA and Vice Chair of the CANSO Executive Committee reflects on the recent World ATM Congress and how it brings stakeholders together to address global ATM issues.

Every spring air navigation service providers, thought leaders, technology and service suppliers, educators and developers gather in Madrid for the international air traffic management industry event of the year.

With more than 100 countries represented, World ATM Congress is a global forum to delve into upcoming industry issues, network with old and new acquaintances, see demonstrations of new product enhancements, and meet with customers.

As Canada’s air navigation service provider, an ATM technology supplier and an Aireon and Searidge partner, this year’s World ATM Congress and exhibition offered NAV CANADA multiple opportunities to share our thoughts on industry issues, showcase our technology, connect with our customers and add to the excitement surrounding the imminent go-live of Aireon space-based ADS-B (SB ADS-B) surveillance.

The changing face of the industry

A relevant topic for all sectors in the aviation industry, including NAV CANADA, is attracting and retaining talent. New research was presented that highlighted the importance of reaching youth and new job seekers early with information about the aviation industry; and how to change the work environment to take advantage of how millennials communicate, learn and strive. Also featured were grassroots organizations founded to bring the dual messages of STEM and aviation as a career to young women, an under-represented group our industry.

Kendra Kincade, an employer brand specialist with NAV CANADA and founder of Elevate Aviation, a Canadian non-profit which provides aviation career visibility and support to women, told her story at the Attracting and Retaining Women and Millennials in the ATM session on day two, sharing the stage with other inspiring women leaders. 

Kendra and others in the industry are steadily reaching a critical mass with education, mentorship and visibility, and employers like NAV CANADA will be the beneficiaries of an energetic and engaged workforce.

Collaborating for success

Much of the success of NAV CANADA’s technology program and the widespread acceptance of our NAVCANatm products in Canada and in other countries is because controllers and operational employees are integral members of the development team, from requirements building to design and life cycle support.

The implementation of EXCDS, a NAVCANatm e-strip solution, into NATS’ London Terminal Control Centre, is a recent example of the use of cross-functional project teams to ensure system readiness and acceptance and was another successful collaboration between the two organizations.

I was pleased to be invited to participate as an ANSP representative on a panel with labour leadership from the Global ATC Alliance and industry, that tackled the topic of the end user’s role in a collaborative environment. The consensus was clear that when advancing technology development and expediting delivery, input from all user groups was a critical component for success.

Aireon poised for performance

With Aireon service poised to go live later this month, the World ATM Congress gave NAV CANADA and NATS, our partner in ATM service provision in the North Atlantic, the chance to describe how the service will be used to enhance safety and efficiency in the world’s busiest oceanic air space. 

A presentation given by Juliet Kennedy, Operations Director, NATS and Ben Girard, our Vice President Operational Support at  NAV CANADA explained the preparations by both organizations for using SB ADS-B in oceanic airspace. Safety and service benefits of the expanded surveillance included meeting the NAT Target Level of Safety, reducing aircraft separation, expanding route flexibility, and improving predictability for long-range air traffic management. NAV CANADA is also poised to use Aireon in domestic airspace in both the Gander and Edmonton flight information regions.

Intense interest in Aireon’s service and how it will help to manage solid and sustainable growth air traffic was evident. Initiatives like the NAT Trials offer examples of how ANSPs can use Aireon service to transform their own airspace performance.

A regular forum for the industry

As our industry becomes more fast-paced and complex, opportunities to share formal and informal conversations about the next big issues and how they can be addressed becomes increasingly important.

While our industry hosts many events, meetings and other working groups during the year, World ATM Congress, as our biggest annual industry forum, offers the chance for all global ATM stakeholders to gather one location – bringing our expertise and our experiences together to support future safety, efficiency and success. 

CANSO World ATM Congress