Weekly Review #229 - Rethinking ATM tenders: how to give small providers a fighting chance

Picture of Vincent Lambercy
Posted by Vincent Lambercy

I have a sweet spot for small ATM systems providers. They often offer innovative solutions and great levels of customisation. And because every customer and every contract is almost vital to them, they tend to go the extra mile. 

However, being a small fish in a big pond is not easy. Most of the difficulties appear as early as during the call for tenders stage. Buying organisations tend towards the most secure solutions and they do so by putting quite high barriers for tenderers.

How can any new system provider enter the market when calls for tenders require the typical “three similar projects in the last eighteen months"? While I understand the reason for such requirements, they are basically excluding newcomers and smaller organisations.

But what to do instead? One approach is to not go directly for the full tender but have a limited number of companies work on demonstrators and prototypes. This allows them to show what they are capable of, therefore minimising the risks and allowing for new approaches. This is also a great way to foster early end-users’ involvement, which is proven to be a key success factor in the ATM industry.

Think of this the next time you prepare a call for tenders and you will set yourself on the right track for a great solution.


ANSP news

  • ENAIRE improves operations at the Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernández Airport with new satellite-based navigation instrument approach procedures - ENAIRE implemented satellite-based navigation instrument approach procedures at the Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernández Airport. In doing so, ENAIRE enhances the efficiency of operations, as well as accessibility to the Airport by providing it with additional instrument approach manoeuvres. Since these procedures do not depend on ground-based navaids, they provide a very useful solution as they are phased in by airlines with the proper equipment, and as an improvement or alternative to conventional approaches.
  • Working position staffing/capacity plan for DC-ANSP - Required input for one of the subprojects of the DC-ANSP Fatigue Risk Management project was a working position staffing plan. Such a plan provides an overview of the required number of active positions at an ATC unit during the day. In our view such a plan is primarily based on the controller workload as a result of managing the traffic load. This workload is determined by the traffic load, in combination with the characteristics of the ATM system.
  • Airservices Australia charts course for 60 million drone flights by 2043 - Analysis commissioned by Airservices Australia predicts the annual number of drone flights in Australian skies will surge from 1.5 million a year in 2023 to 60.4 million a year by 2043. The report, Sizing the future drone and advanced air mobility market in Australia, was produced for Airservices to inform the ongoing discussion on how Australia can best prepare for and benefit from the increasing availability of drone technology.
  • SDM and SJU Directors Visited Croatia Control - Executive directors of SESAR Deployment Manager Mariagrazia La Piscopia and SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking Andreas Boschen respectively visited Croatia Control Ltd and met with Director General Mario Kunovec-Varga and his team. They had a fruitful discussion and witnessed SESAR innovations in action. CCL is a full member of both SESAR organisations.
  • NATS invites stakeholder feedback on OpenAir airspace management service - NATS is inviting industry and other stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed new NATS OpenAir service offering, and the associated charging structure, as outlined in the consultation document. NATS first announced its new OpenAir network management function in September 2023.

Airports news

Market news

Context information

Reports and data

Research and innovation

  • Yes to drones! - SESAR JU - Drones and urban air mobility are gaining momentum, and the sector is expected to grow rapidly in the next two decades. Public acceptance is key to the adoption of this novel mode of transportation. ImAFUSA, a recently launched SESAR JU research and innovation project, will quantify a variety of understudied factors that influence citizens’ perception of UAM and deliver a framework that will help Local Authorities and other U-space stakeholders and users with the delivery of a socially acceptable and beneficial UAM deployment in cities.
  • Understanding safety risks from another perspective – Bowtie - To70 - According to the initial investigation by the Japan Transport Safety Board, the recovered flight data and voice recorders indicate that the pilot misunderstood the ATC instruction and entered the runway without permission. Furthermore, it is suggested that the lack of monitoring by the ATC controller could have played a role in this unfortunate incident. This shows the complexity of aviation safety management which always involves many stakeholders. As a methodology focusing on specific events, the bowtie methodology may provide another perspective for the management of the major risks.
  • Aircraft equipage paves way for more efficient air traffic management - SESAR JU - SESAR JU founding member, Airtel ATN, has announced the equipage of 10,000 aircraft with an airborne router to facilitate communications by datalink between pilots and air traffic controllers. The milestone for Airtel ATN is paving the way for the uptake of key SESAR trajectory management solutions, enabling more efficient and safe air traffic operations.