Weekly review #45- April 22nd

Picture of Vincent Lambercy
Posted by Vincent Lambercy

If you're looking for an antidote to the barrage of (important) yet negative news from the industry, then look no further. We've collated a selection of more optimistic stories from the last week to keep your spirits high. 

Nothing beats leading edge technology and research to stay positive about the future. The German Airspace Laboratory (DLR) explores the prospect of virtual reality as a "low- cost"remote tower for smaller airfields. 

More cheerful news in the form of EUROCONTROL being granted a loan of 1.27 billion EUR to pay up to 51% of ANSPs operating costs for four months. Offering relief and much-needed financial security for the members. 

We're proud to see solidarity and helpful initiatives everywhere we look. Passenger aircraft being turned into cargo, t-shirts being printed to support ATC and healthcare workers, funny videos, airport staff going to work at the hospital...

the list is growing.

We're very firm in the belief that as tough as this period is, it's temporary. As long as there's still progression in research, new deals and projects continue, the industry will recover - perhaps with some changes for the better. 

ANSP news

  • NATS eligible for funding of up to £92 million to maintain services - The UK, along with other European states, has supported the intergovernmental organisation, EUROCONTROL, which manages charging for air navigation services across Europe, in securing a loan of £1.1 billion to maintain critical air navigation services, which have been affected by the fall in air traffic from coronavirus.

  • DFS: skies above Germany are far from empty - The coronavirus pandemic has brought civil air traffic in Germany to a virtual standstill. In recent weeks, traffic figures have dropped by up to 90 percent. However, the airspace is far from empty.

Airports news

Market news

  • ADB SAFEGATE appoints new CEO to accelerate its transformation agenda for airports - The appointment of Laurent Dubois as CEO of ADB SAFEGATE comes at a time of unprecedented challenges for all organisations connected with air travel. The likely impact of the COVID-19 pandemic makes it more important than ever for ADB SAFEGATE to move ahead with its plans to help airports deliver the best, delay-free passenger experiences.

  • AIRSEAIR RPAS to provide CNS measurement services with Skyguide's CNS drone in Central and South America - Skyguide, the Swiss air navigation service provider, and AIRSEAIR RPAS, a remotely piloted aircraft systems operator and provider based in Montréal (Canada) with active presence in the Latin American region, are collaborating to establish CNS (Communication, Navigation, Surveillance) Drone Services in Central- and South America.

  • Combining AI and Telematics Optimises Cargo Handling Process - NFORM GmbH teamed up with Blumenbecker Technik GmbH to develop the industry’s first solution that facilitates a vastly improved process of managing and maintaining dolly fleets. The ground handlers have complete control over the degree of capacity utilisation of each dolly and therefore are able to efficiently use their fleet and reduce costs/number of dollies where possible.

  • UFA, Inc. helps customers continue their training activities during the COVID-19 shutdown - UFA, Inc. provides multiple remote-learning solutions which are helping its customers train outside the traditional classroom. ATCoach, ATTower, and ATSpeak, can be accessed on mobile devices from home and are fully enabled with ATVoice, voice recognition and response system.

Context information

  • US joining global push allowing cargo shipment in passenger jet cabins - U.S. air-safety regulators, seeking to make it easier for airlines to ramp up transportation of cargo aimed at combating the pandemic, are poised to allow such shipments in the cabins of passenger planes, according to people familiar with the issue.

  • CANSO welcomes adoption of rescue package for European ANSPs - CANSO supports the proposal adopted yesterday, which enables EUROCONTROL to apply for funding which guarantees a minimum level of financing for European ANSPs until September. Under this, EUROCONTROL is authorised to take a loan worth up to €1.27 billion, which it will use to pay ANSPs 51% of their operating costs for four months.

  • Could COVID-19 be a game changer for the aviation industry? - Covid-19 could be the most abrupt shock to the global economy in decades, with aviation arguably being the most disrupted industry. The future of aviation has never been so uncertain. However, from today’s stories and lessons learned, the industry must commit to evolve and renew. Players in the market who recognise this wind of change and opportunity for innovation will recover earlier and succeed faster.

Research and innovation

  • ATRiCS and partners awarded an R&D project on safe use of AI in ATC - ATRiCS together with Fraport AG, University of Saarland and the DLR have been awarded an R&D project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to examine methods for the safe use of Artificial Intelligence in air traffic control.

  • Supporting small airports using virtual reality - The costs of purchasing, installing and maintaining the latest remote tower technology makes it impracticable for airfields with a low volume of traffic. The German Aerospace Center has teamed up with the Osnabrück University and RWTH Aachen University to develop an alternative concept based on lower-cost components and Virtual Reality.


  • LVNL launches GoDrone app for drone operators - Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) launched the GoDrone app that can be used on mobile devices and in browsers, available at godrone.nl. The app was developed for all drone operators in the Netherlands, and provides information about where you can fly your drone safely. By launching the app, LVNL wants to improve safety for the increased use of drones in the airspace.

  • SESAR JU U-space webinar sessions - SESAR JU members and partners recently brought to a close two years of research and development (R&D) on how to integrate safely and securely drones across Europe. These sessions will present the work of some of these projects addressing the concept of operations for U-space, critical communications, surveillance and tracking, information management and exchange, detect and avoid, and CNS technologies.

  • Accommodating the drone - Think research blog post addressing the drone integration issue: "when drones made it to the press it was normally for the wrong reasons – typically disrupting busy airports. So, how do you accommodate drones without them being a nuisance? To answer this question there are three critical observations that need to be understood."

  • ENAIRE coordinates drone flights conducted by law enforcement agencies related to the COVID-19 - Since the state of emergency was activated, ENAIRE has registered more than 40 requests for unmanned aircraft flights under Article 44 of Royal Decree 1036/2017, which regulates the use of drones in situations of serious risk, catastrophe or public disaster.


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