Weekly Review #244 - Solving the language issue in ATM calls for tenders

Picture of Vincent Lambercy
Posted by Vincent Lambercy
Everybody in aviation speaks English, right? Pretty much. But still, in many European countries, the tendering process takes place in the national language. Let's face it: this is not something ANSPs and airports decide themselves. This decision has been made at a much higher level, often at the lawmakers' level. The European Union could focus on this topic, but trying to change this would reach a whole new dimension of complexity.
With that said, what can we do? We are in the days of AI and automated translations and this gives us a great starting point. At FoxATM, we often look at calls for tenders using automated translations to form an initial opinion. Such translations are not perfect, but they are sufficient to make a first 'go' or 'no-go' decision. When it comes to the lingo, AI is often wrong, and it is still common to see incorrect contextual translations. Assuming that ATM means an automated transaction machine, for example. Nevertheless, with a bit of extra elbow grease, this works fine.
When it comes to reading and preparing documents for a call for tenders, though, it is not enough. Preparing them in English (or any language you master) and then using an automated translation service can work as a basis, but not more. Your document must be proofread by a native speaker with experience in ATM. Even if you use a human-based translation service, the industry specifics are such that a review by a knowledgeable person remains a must.
The next step is even more delicate: in-person negotiations. Even if they are held remotely via teleconference, they require a high level of language fluency. The sad part is that also when every party in the room can speak English, it is legally not possible to negotiate in any other language than what is stated in the law. Also, it's important to consider the psychological aspects and biases involved in this. A non-native, fluent speaker with an accent will likely get fewer chances than a native speaker. Even if this is unconscious, we all are biased.
What FoxATM can offer and has offered in multiple cases in the past is support with bid preparation and participation in negotiations. We speak ATM and are ready to be productive from day one. The team covers quite a range of languages: German, French, Lithuanian, Polish, and a few more. Don't let language be the deciding factor in your no-go decision before contacting us. In a vast majority of cases, the project work can be done in English, and the requirement for local languages applies only to the procurement process.
On a separate note, don't miss our new podcast episode with Benjamin Baier, CEO of Imtradex. We speak about Benjamin and the company, why the manufacturing process is in Germany, the new features of the ATC headset model designed for remote towers ATCOs and more.

ANSP news

  • Collaboration between BHANSA and Naviair- Bosnia and Herzegovina's Experience as a useful case study for the Kingdom of Denmark Takeover of Airspace Control over Greenland.
  • Aeronautical chart is a reliable tool for general and recreational aviation in case of GPS interference - Recently, there have been reports of increased interference with satellite positioning in aviation in Finland. General and recreational aviators should note that especially when flying in the South-East of Finland, there might be interference in the data of the GPS equipment. This makes it even more important to be aware of your location beyond the GPS data.
  • Conclusion of a collective agreement for DFS - Following two years of intensive negotiations, the Executive Board of DFS and the air navigation services union (GdF) agreed on a comprehensive collective bargaining package "Zukunft DFS" or "Future of DFS". This will come into force on 1 January 2025.
  • A record number of flights were served in the airspace of the Republic of Kazakhstan- In 2023, in the airspace of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the specialists of “Kazaeronavigatsia” RSE serviced 415 497 flights, of which were 107 247 Kazakhstan and 308 250 foreign airlines. This figure is a record for all the years of the country’s independence. Thanks to the effective work of the Ministry of Transport, the Civil Aviation Committee, the Aviation Administration of Kazakhstan and “Kazaeronavigatsia” RSE in developing the aviation industry, the number of flights increases every year. Compared to 2015, the figure has almost doubled.

Airport news

  • Oman plans to build six new airports in five years- Oman has announced that the plan for building six new airports across the country is gathering pace with the work on the consulting designs currently under way, reported Muscat Daily. These new airports are set to begin operations between 2028 and 2029, stated the report, citing a senior official.

Market news

  • Adacel and EANS second digital tower operational at Kuressaare Airport- Adacel and Estonian Air Navigation Services (EANS) are pleased to announce that the Reval air traffic virtual tower system at Kuressaare Airport (EEKE) has transitioned into operational service. The system at Kuressaare received its air traffic service approval from the Estonian Transport Administration on 8 May 2024.
  • FREQUENTIS C4i VOICE C2 successfully certified to operate on the US Department of Defense networks- The Frequentis C4i VOICE C2 communication system has been approved by Defense Information Security (DISA) for listing on the Department of Defense (DoD) information network (DoDIN) approved products list (APL) following recertification by the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC). The successful completion of cybersecurity and interoperability testing reaffirms C4i's status as an industry leader in defence communications technology.

Research and innovation

  • Safely integrating Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) into European airspace - SESAR JU- The IRINA project is working to ensure that unmanned, remotely piloted aircraft systems can safely share the sky with their manned counterparts. Whether used for inspection, survey, surveillance, or delivery operations, RPAS have the potential to revolutionise society and the economy. But leveraging this potential requires that these aircraft, which are remotely operated by a pilot, be able to fly alongside manned aircraft in all airspace classes.
  • SESAR innovation in the spotlight at FLY AI Forum- On 29-30 April, FLY AI partners organised a two-day conference to explore the latest developments and deployments of artificial intelligence and machine learning in aviation. Hosted by FLY AI partner, EUROCONTROL, the conference included updates from the European Commission on AI regulatory matters, the discussion of practical-use cases of AI benefits to aviation, an exhibition of projects and success stories, and an overview of ongoing research and training activities.
  • Grappling with hardware, software and integration challenges — and opportunities — in digital tech stacks- Understanding the shifting relationship between hardware and software is fundamental to the future of the digitised aviation industry, and to the technology stacks on which it is built. But how is the industry navigating those changes and challenges? We talk tech with key researchers looking into how the digital landscape is changing — and needs to adapt.

Reports and data

  • KIX / ITAMI / KOBE Traffic Report for April 2024- The number of non-Japanese traffic for international flights was 1.59 million, which hit a record high, and the total number of international passengers was 87% vs April 2019. The international cargo traffic was lower than the previous year both in ATM and cargo volume.
  • NAV CANADA reports April 2024 traffic figure- NAV CANADA announced today its traffic figure for the month of April 2024 as measured in weighted charging units for enroute, terminal and oceanic air navigation services, in comparison to the prior year.
  • ENAIRE managed nearly 200,000 flights in April, 8.2% more than in 2023, a record year- ENAIRE managed over nearly 200,000 flights (198,151) in April, 8.2% more than in the same month in 2023, a record year. International flights (113,896) were up by 8.8%, domestic flights (39,986) by 7.8%, and overflights (44,269), which do not land at or depart from a Spanish airport, by 7.0%.


  • Dublin City launches its Drone and Urban Air Mobility Strategy 2024-2029 - Unmanned airspace- Dublin City has launched its Drone and Urban Air Mobility Strategy 2024 – 2029, an initiative aiming to transform how the city uses drone technology to enhance public services. Dublin City Council Smart City programme led the development of the Drone Strategy to support the Council in future-proofing how new and emerging technologies are applied.
  • EASA publishes completed package of advanced air mobility regulations - Unmanned airspace- EASA has released its finalised package of Innovative Air Mobility regulations, comprising “a comprehensive set of requirements for piloted electric air taxis, spanning the domains of Air Operations, Flight Crew Licensing, Standardised European Rules of the Air and Air Traffic Management. It also establishes criteria and processes for the certification and maintenance of drones.”
  • GUTMA Task Force Secure and Resilient UTM Report published- Under the leadership of OpenSkies Aerial Technology and the Technology Innovation Institute, the GUTMA Task Force on Secure and Resilient UTM has successfully developed a threat modelling framework for UTM technology, complementing existing UTM regulations. This framework, detailed in a new report publicly accessible, draws on best practices implemented by Task Force members.
  • Malaga airport “to trial Lilium flights to Marbella and Granada, starting in 2025” - Unmanned airspace- The SurinEnglish news website reports that Malaga airport will start test flights with Lilium eVTOLs in 2025. Air navigation service provider ENAIRE and Crida, its R+D subsidiary have been looking for an airport to test eVTOL operations and Malaga was one of the first volunteers, according to the news site.