World ATM Congress recognises outstanding achievement in aviation, announces Maverick Awards Finalists


ATCA (the Air Traffic Control Association) and CANSO are honoured to announce the finalists for the second annual Maverick Awards presented by World ATM Congress. The Awards recognise outstanding achievements in innovation, collaboration, and sustainability in air traffic management (ATM).  

“We are proud to once again announce the Maverick Awards finalists for the past year,” said newly-appointed ATCA President and CEO Brian R. Bruckbauer. “The past 18 months have been very difficult for our community. We believe it is more important than ever to celebrate the incredible work going on around the world, advancing aviation safety through collaboration, innovation, and sustainability.”   Over 60 nominations were received from air navigation service providers (ANSPs), industry, and academia, which were narrowed down to nine finalists, three in each award category.

The Collaboration Award

The Collaboration Award recognises the importance of effective relationships and partnerships within/across disciplines and sectors to achieve a shared goal.  

The finalists for the Collaboration Award are (in alphabetical order):  

  • ASECNA for operationalising space-based ADS-B throughout the 16.1 million square kilometers of airspace it oversees across its Member States of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo, Ivory Coast, France, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad, and Togo.  
  • CAAS, Rohde & Schwarz, SITAONAIR, and Thales Alenia Space for their work on space-based VHF communications, which enables aircraft operating in remote continental regions and oceanic areas to communicate with ATC. When used with space-based ADS-B, it is possible to reduce separation minima, and improve airspace capacity and safety. Additionally, the technology can be used as contingency communication infrastructure for airspace impacted by natural disasters.
  • Unifly NV for its participation in 20 European research projects focusing on all areas relating to drones and autonomous air traffic management, including regulatory issues. Unifly works closely with specialised partners and experts, even competitors, to co-create the ecosystem necessary to meet the overarching requirements for the drone and UTM industry to advance.

The Innovation Award

The Innovation Award recognises new ideas, technologies, and concepts that challenge current ATM norms with the potential to significantly advance performance, operations, or capabilities.   The finalists for the Innovation Award are:

  • Altitude Angel and Inmarsat for their “Pop-Up UTM” project. Pop-Up UTM was initially developed to address the unmanned traffic management (UTM) needs of blue light emergency services and first responders who need aerial surveillance rapidly with little notice. 
  • The Four-Dimensional Trajectories (4DT) Live Flight Demonstration (LFD) Team, a collaboration between FAA, Boeing, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), three airlines, and several other partners. The project was a sixteen-month cost-shared partnership that leveraged FAA NextGen investments in SWIM, data communications, PBN, FF-ICE, etc., and included novel live flights using 4DT-based operations.
  • NAVBLUE and Airbus for the development of the RunwaySense solution that delivers highly accurate braking action reports to airlines and airports. Over 1,500 Airbus aircraft are already committed to equip with its Braking Action Computation Function (BACF), and the the system, only launched at the end of 2019, is already recording more than 14,000 braking action messages per month.

The Sustainability Award

The Sustainability Award recognises leaders, initiatives, and organisations working towards reducing aviation’s impact on the environment and making significant contributions to improving the environmental footprint of aviation through ATM.   The finalists for the Sustainability Award are:  

  • FABEC’s Environmental Standing Committee, which has overseen key operational changes that benefited airspace users of Europe’s core area. FABEC lifted or alleviated more than 700 route restrictions in 2020, avoiding the need for aircraft to operate at inefficient flight levels or fly longer routes. Most of these route restrictions were put in place in times of high traffic demand to stabilize the network and ensure safety while providing additional capacity.  
  • The Frequentis Orthogon Arrival Manager (AMAN) System celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. It was first deployed in Zurich in 2001 and is now supporting controllers managing arrivals at numerous airports, including London Heathrow, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Oslo, Singapore, and Toronto. Orthogon AMAN has saved more than 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions globally within its 20 years of operations.  
  • NATS Three Dimensional Insight (3Di), which works by comparing the actual trajectory of each aircraft (from real radar data) against an optimal flight trajectory to minimise fuel burn and CO2 emissions. Since 3Di was introduced, NATS has enabled average annual savings of 1.5 million tonnes of aircraft CO2 per year.  

“We were delighted to receive so many incredible submissions in this second pandemic year. They are a testament to how important our work is to safety, efficiency, and innovation in ATM,” said CANSO Director General Simon Hocquard. “My congratulations to all those who submitted, especially those that made the shortlist. We look forward to honouring your achievements and celebrating our success!”  

A special thank you to our renowned panel of judges: Sharon Cooke, Chief Executive Officer, Airways International Ltd.; Farhan Guliyev, Director, AZANS; Don Thoma, Chief Executive Officer, Aireon; Brian R. Bruckbauer, President and CEO, Air Traffic Control Association; and Simon Hocquard, Director General, CANSO.   The winner of each category will be announced at World ATM Congress 2021 in Madrid, Spain, during the Maverick Awards Ceremony, held from 15:00 – 16:00 Tuesday, 26 October, in Wing ATM Theatre. The Awards ceremony will be hosted by ATCA’s President and CEO Brian R. Bruckbauer and CANSO’s Director General Simon Hocquard. Registration for the event is free. To learn more and register, visit

View past winners

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