Weekly Review #232 - The dangers of speculation about aviation accidents and the latest ATM news

Picture of Vincent Lambercy
Posted by Vincent Lambercy

Normally, I try to summarise a few stories that stood out in the week's news. But this week, with two aviation accidents in the first week of 2024 (JAL in Tokyo Haneda and Alaska Airlines in Portland), I want to start with something that is close to my heart: responsible reporting. 

Sherlock Holmes said "It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.'


The same thing applies to speculation about aviation accidents. Be careful with a large number of self-proclaimed experts and investigators, especially on social media and Linkedin. Now is the time to shut up and wait unless you are part of the investigation team. And if you are, you know you have to shut up anyway.


I wrote about this on LinkedIn and it provoked a lively discussion. Check out the comments and contribute here.


ANSP news


Market news

  • Indra set to implement the aeronautical information management system in Tanzania - The system manages key data for flight safety and for planning air operations much more efficiently, helping to reduce emissions and costs. Its implementation is essential for any navigation service provider to be able to make the leap to the intranet that will globally connect all aviation in the future (SWIM).
  • VCS remote management by Sitti - The Air Force Command requested SITTI to study a possible remote management infrastructure and define the relevant implementation phases, from the definition of the areas of interest up to the identification of the hardware and software modules and components that are required to gradually introduce remote management capabilities with nationwide extension.
  • NATS selects CGI to help transform its digital infrastructure - CANSO - NATS has chosen CGI to help transform and modernise the company’s digital infrastructure and evolve its services for air traffic operations in the UK.


Context information

  • 2023 repeats the unlikely success of 2017; no accidents to turbofan-powered commercial passenger aeroplanes - To70 - As the new year dawns and we look back across 2023, civil aviation finds itself in a similar position to 2017 with no fatal accidents to large turbofan powered, passenger aeroplanes in commercial service. Indeed, the number of fatal accidents to large passenger aeroplanes in commercial service is only two. This excludes one accident where a ground handler was killed on being ingested into an aircraft’s engine. There have been a number of incidents and non-fatal accidents that require the industry to remain vigilant. Serious injuries due to turbulence remain an ever-present factor in the year’s accidents.


Reports and data

  • NAV CANADA reports November 2023 traffic figure - NAV CANADA announced today its traffic figure for the month of November 2023 as measured in weighted charging units for enroute, terminal and oceanic air navigation services, in comparison to the prior year. In November 2023 weighted charging units were higher on average by 6.0 percent compared to the same month in 2022.
  • EUROCONTROL Data Snapshot #41 comparing airline flight and seat recovery - Our 41st EUROCONTROL Data Snapshot shows that the recovery of airline activity from COVID-19 can depend greatly on whether flights or seats are considered, which is linked to fleet evolution.
  • Mangaluru International Airport Handles Record 2.03 Lakh Passengers in December 2023 - The general increase in air traffic movements is observed since October 29, 2023, when the winter schedule came into effect. Mangaluru International Airport recorded 1388 ATMs in December 2023 including 1096 domestic movements.
  • Asia Pacific and North American airlines least on-time - report - The data, collated by aviation analytics company Cirium, analyses the number of flights that landed 15 minutes later than scheduled for airlines around the world and saw Asia Pacific’s airlines achieve a total of 73.51% of flights arrive on time while North America reported a 74.45% rate. The Middle East and Africa saw the highest percentage of flights arrive on time, 82.44%, with Latin America’s airlines close behind at 81.67% and Colombia’s SA Avianca reaching the highest percentage amongst the world’s largest airlines at 85.73%.
  • Macau International Airport Traffic Volume Has Gradually Recovered in 2023 - Throughout the year, there has been a significant increase in air passengers of MIA, with a total annual airport passenger volume of 5.15 million passengers and 42,504 aircraft movements. MIA handled an average of approximately 14,000 passengers and 116 aircraft movements per day. Compared to the same period in 2019, overall passenger volume and aircraft movements have recovered by approximately 55% and 54% respectively.
  • US celebrates busiest year ever for air travel in 2023 - The US aviation industry celebrated its busiest year ever for air travel in 2023 with 16.3 million flights and the lowest rate of flight cancellations in at least a decade according to data released by the country’s Department of Transportation. The DOT said 2023 saw a cancellation rate for scheduled flights of below 1.2%, almost half of the 2.3% seen in 2022 and only 2016 recording a rate with 1% of 2023.
  • Huge increase in passenger traffic at Hamad International Airport – Airport World - The airport enjoyed a 22% rise in flights and a modest upturn in cargo volumes as it welcomed 252,059 aircraft movements and 2.34 million tons of freight respectively.


Research and innovation

  • SESAR 3 JU launches call to expand membership - The SESAR 3 JU has launched an open call for expression of interest in becoming an associate member of the public-private partnership and contributing to delivering the Digital European Sky.
  • Engage 2 announces a PhD Call to support European ATM research - SESAR JU - Engage 2 has announced a call for PhDs dedicated to advancing ATM. This initiative will provide an important occasion for supporting researchers in the development of their ideas and contribute to the evolution of the European ATM system. The deadline for submissions is 18 February 2024, and the selection process will be overseen by the Engage 2 Awards Board, comprising consortium members, SESAR representatives, research and industry partners. This initiative represents a significant step in supporting groundbreaking research and collaboration in the field of air traffic management in Europe.



  • First-of-its-Kind Flight Trials Integrate Uncrewed Aircraft Into Controlled Airspace - A partnership of aviation leaders, including Airways New Zealand, has successfully completed a first-of-its-kind trial, including a series of test flights aimed at evaluating the operational integration of uncrewed aircraft flying beyond visual line of sight into controlled airspace. The successful completion of these trial test flights in New Zealand demonstrates that safe, uncrewed flight operations are possible, today, in controlled airspace among other piloted aircraft.
  • EASA invites comments on memorandum on flight testing for VTOL-capable aircraft - Unmanned airspace - EASA has published a Proposed Certification Memorandum CM-21.A-B-003 Function and Reliability Flight Testing for VTOL-capable aircraft. Comments are invited by 1 March 2024. According to industry experts, a Certification Memorandum is a document that clarifies the intended general course of action of the EASA on a given topic. They are non-binding and are not the same as formally adopted means of compliance and guidance materials. They are used to prepare compliance to certification requirements.
  • FAA and NASA experts share top UAS and UAM developments in 2023 - Unmanned airspace - An interview by Dawn of Drones with Kevin Morris, Federal Aviation Administration drone specialist and Huy Tran, Director of Aeronautics at the Ames Research Center for National Aeronautics and Space Administration outlined the top achievements for UAS and AAM during the past 12 months.