Bosnia and Herzegovina improves airspace communications with Frequentis Comsoft

By Airports, ATMNo Comments

The Directorate of Civil Aviation for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BHDCA) has introduced an Air Traffic Services Message Handling System (AMHS) from Frequentis Comsoft to replace the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network (AFTN) and enhance aviation communication within its airspace.

The AMHS system enables all types of ground-to-ground aeronautical messages such as flight plans, meteorological messages and NOTAM messages to be sent and received in accordance with the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Commenting on the collaboration with BHDCA, Thomas Hoffmann, Frequentis Comsoft Managing Director, said: “All three sites (Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Mostar) now have technically identical systems after the system upgrade, which can be mutually supervised and operated. If required, the operational service can, once initiated, be automatically moved to the system at the contingency site in approximately 15 minutes, including the complete data history. We look forward to working together on future projects.”

BHDCA’s system consists of a location-independent, redundant operating system (OPS), contingency system (CONT) and a training and testing system (TRAINING/ TEST) and has been successfully operational since May 2020. The AMHS system is a communication system that represents a central point of access to international AMHS networks and data, linking user terminals of operational services and units of BHDCA into the world exchange of data and information.

During the implementation of AMHS into the operational use, an air navigation system safety assessment was also conducted by BHDCA.

“With BHDCA changing from AFTN to AMHS the ATM world becomes more modern, reliable and secure,” explained Vaclav Sourek, Frequentis Comsoft Sales and Marketing Director. He underlined that, “Frequentis Comsoft’s excellent track record with 65 AMHS customers worldwide proves that our clients are pleased with our AMHS system quality, which is our priority.”

CANSO reaffirms commitment to ATM recovery during virtual AGM

By Airports, ATMNo Comments

During its 24th Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was held virtually on Friday 16 October, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organiser (CANSO) launched a new advocacy priority to help the industry navigate the current aviation crisis. The commitment is to provide the policy and framework guidance to ensure the air traffic management (ATM) industry emerges from the current pandemic stronger and more resilient then before.

“It has been a challenging year for us all and it is encouraging to see such a commitment to CANSO and the industry,” said Simon Hocquard, Director General of CANSO. “Our members have come together and agreed to focus on measures that will help the industry navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside our overall objective of transforming ATM. This is an important step as we redefine our future and the approach we need to take.”

CANSO’s AGM also saw the announcement of the new Executive Committee Chair, Captain Gilbert Macharia Kibe, who currently serves as Director General of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

Meanwhile on 19 October the Chair Teams of the CANSO European Safety Directors Group (CESAF) and the EUROCONTROL Safety Team signed a cooperation agreement which will comprise various types of activities, including: exchange of safety-related information; sharing expertise and best practice; cross-participation in working groups; and coordinating engagement with regulatory and legislative authorities, vendors and media.

NOKIA thermal imaging

Nokia leverages thermal imaging and advanced analytics to advance fight against COVID-19

By Airports, FeaturedNo Comments
NOKIA thermal imaging

With temperature screening at airports creating bottle necks for passengers and increasing pressure on resources Nokia has unveiled a new solution designed to advance the fight against COVID-19.

The Nokia Automated Analytics Solution (NAAS) for Access Control leverages thermal detection, video-based analytics and machine learning to streamline and fully automate the process of detecting COVID-19 symptoms and monitoring mask compliance. It’s ideal for use in environments with potentially thousands of people passing through at any given time – ie airports.

Nokia’s goal is to create a zero-touch, automated management system that will enable large organisations to make intelligent decisions to protect their people and facilities in a post-pandemic world.

Amit Shah, Head of Analytics and IoT for Nokia said: “Whether in factories, ports, offices, airports, schools, or outdoor screening centres, mission-critical networks and digital automation solutions play a leading role in ensuring supply resilience, business continuity, and workers’ safety in real-time. NAAS brings centralised data, analytics and an automation management system, allowing large organisations to make intelligent decisions to protect their people and facilities during and in a post-pandemic world, while respecting individual privacy.”

With data privacy a cause for concern among passengers, Nokia’s solution respects individual privacy as the video stream blurs faces.

European Commission agrees to airport slot waiver extension

By Airports, FeaturedNo Comments

Airlines have welcomed the European Commission’s decision on Wednesday 14 October to adopt an extension to the waiver of EU rules on the use of airport slots. A first waiver was introduced in March when aircraft were grounded following the initial Coronavirus outbreak. The waiver has now been extended to cover the entire winter season, until 27 March, 2021.

Under normal circumstances airlines must use 80% of the slots allocated to them or they risk losing them the following season. As a result of Wednesday’s decision airlines can now plan their flight schedules with more certainty without fear of losing slots due to the drastic reduction in flights as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has had a tremendous impact on air travel and the aviation sector as a whole,” said EU Transport commissioner Adina Valean. “In extending the waiver, we are responding to traffic data, which show the number of flights in September was still 54% down on September 2019 and traffic is unfortunately unlikely to recover in the near future. This extension provides certainty for airlines, airports and passengers.”

The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) has welcomed the extension to the airport slot waiver saying it will bring much-needed certainty for the industry.

charlotte douglas

Editor’s comment: It’s safe to fly

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charlotte douglas

As it looks beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the biggest challenges for the global aviation community has been the need to restore passenger confidence.

Whether it’s in the terminal building or onboard an aircraft, airports and airlines are constantly battling against concern from passengers over the risk of disease transmission. This is further exacerbated by haphazard, restrictive international travel bans and blanket quarantines.

So, it’s welcome news that after a six-month analysis of the air travel industry’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Flight Safety Foundation has concluded that industry efforts have succeeded in greatly reducing the possibility of transmission in airports and on aircraft.

“The latest evidence shows that airports and aircrafts have very low levels of transmission,” said Dr Hassan Shahidi, Flight Safety Foundation’s CEO and President (pictured). He added that, “With the health and safety measures that airlines, airports and security personnel have now put in place, the risk of contracting this virus appears extraordinarily low, much lower than in other public places.”

International airport health accreditation programmes, improved cleaning and disinfection procedures and technologies, as well as contactless check-in and other self-service solutions, and socially distant boarding and deplaning procedures are all credited with enhancing health safety.

Given the “extraordinary measures” that have been implemented, Dr Shahidi underlined that, “the travelling public should have increased confidence to fly”.

With a bleak winter looming, we all (media included) have a role to play in sharing that it’s safe to fly and in keeping pressure on governments to introduce universally accepted testing standards – the UK Government’s commitment to implementing a testing system for international travel is a welcome first step. We also need to keep looking forward and hope that the industry’s recovery picks up speed in the new year.

Enjoy your weekend,

Chloë Greenbank

Editor, Regional Gateway.

Air transport industry focused on a green recovery and sustainable growth

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Airport, airline and other aviation industry leaders have reiterated that long-term climate action should be a priority alongside economic recovery in the forseeable future during the Global Sustainable Aviation Forum, which was hosted online by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) on Tuesday 29 September.

Airports Council International (ACI) World’s Director General, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, emphasised the need to focus on sustainability as part of the industry’s long-term recovery from COVID-19. “To ensure that aviation can continue to provide the economic and social benefits, it is crucial that we pursue a green recovery and lay the foundation for a prosperous and sustainable industry for the long term. Airports are central to the interconnected and interdependent aviation ecosystem. Airports and their partners in the aviation industry need the support of appropriate regulation and government policies to facilitate a green recovery and push for real change.”

ATAG’s Executive Director, Michael Gill, noted that, “As we plan for the recovery of air connectivity, we also must prioritise our environmental progress.” Increasing the production, supply and deliver of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) will be key to achieving a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. “We have the next decade to set the scene for sustainable global connectivity for the next 30-40 years,” he added.

Meanwhile Simon Hocquard, Director General of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), said, “Meeting our ambitious sustainability goals continues to be of paramount importance and will only happen if everyone in the aviation system plays their part. From implementing new operational procedures to adopting the latest technologies, the ATM industry has an important role to play in improving the efficiency of aviation in the near term, before new electric aircraft technologies or zero carbon fuels come on stream.”

Leonardo adds airport ground operations safety solutions to portfolio

By Airports, Ground handlingNo Comments

Selex ES Inc, a US subsidiary of global technology firm Leonardo has added airport surface management technologies to their air traffic control (ATC) solutions.

Specialists in en-route navigation, precision approach and landing as well as surveillance systems, Selex ES’ new AeroBoss technologies offer real-time, collaborative decision-making, flight and ground vehicle tracking, and runway safety systems that allow all surface vehicles to operate more safely and more efficiently. The solution provides an airport-wide common operating platform enabling command and control of airport operations, maintenance, and emergency rescues.

One of AeroBoss’ core solutions is the AeroBoss Runway Incursion Warning System (RIWS). It prevents accidents by alerting vehicle drivers of hazards before entering they runway area. According to Selex ES there are around 3100 airports  in the world with commercial air carrier service, but only a small percentage have runway incursion prevention systems.

The addition of AeroBOSS solutions to Leonardo’s portfolio comes at a critical time, as the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO)and Flight Safety Foundation have expressed concerns regarding the risks of airport runway incursions as air travel begins to resume following the sharp declines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Editor’s comment: Part of the solution, not the problem

By Airports, FeaturedNo Comments

With air travel accused of being a major driver in the spread of COVID-19 and governments introducing quarantines and lockdowns that have curbed the demand for flights, is it any wonder that air travel is seen by many as being the root of the problems caused by coronavirus? But, as Gloria Guevara Manzo, CEO of the World Tourism & Travel Council (WTTC), pointed out on Wednesday 23 September during the World Aviation Festival, travel and aviation in particular “is actually part of the solution”.

Guevara Manzo was joined by several airport CEOs on a keynote panel this week to discuss how airports need to rethink their future. With the global travel industry at risk of losing 197 million jobs, Guevara Manzo underlined that with air travel essential to rebuilding the global economy we need to find a solution to coexist with the virus. It is after all a risk no matter where you are.

The panel discussion was dominated by the call to push international COVID testing protocols to the top of the agenda for governments and authorities across the globe so that we can move forward and get the world flying again.

Paul Griffiths, CEO Dubai Airports, said that ideally testing for passengers needs to start before the journey begins and then again at the airport. “We will only get traveller confidence back if people know that all those in their journey have also been tested and aren’t contagious with the virus,” he said.

Heathrow Airport’s CEO, John Holland-Kaye added, “All of us are aligned on the idea that pre-journey testing is by far the best way for us to get as close back to normal travel as we can. And the fact we all agree on that is important. Let’s get alignment from all airports, airlines and others in the sector to promote pre-journey testing bilaterally and collectively with businesses to our government.” Only then, he argued, will we stand a chance of universal testing protocols being introduced.

Meanwhile, Dick Benschop, CEO of Royal Schiphol Group, pointed out that airports themselves offer ideal bases to trial the different COVID testing technologies and methods and how best to implement them. Not only do they provide an ideal environment for testing in high volumes but it’s also about ensuring that the disruption caused by testing on the flow of people or passengers is kept to a minimum.

Looking forward, Griffiths concluded that digital passports will be key to future travel and controlling the transmission of future disease outbreaks. “Producing a biometric passport with the passenger’s medical details digitised makes total sense if it can be passed from country to country securely,” he said.

But in the meantime and no matter what size the airport, it’s all about pushing for testing, testing, testing…

I hope you enjoy this week’s newsletter and enjoy your weekend.

Chloë Greenbank,

Editor, Regional Gateway.

Airports and airlines unite on conditions for European slots waiver

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With the most difficult winter season in aviation’s history rapidly approaching, airports and airlines have agreed to abide by a set of conditions together with slot coordinators under which an extension of the waiver of the ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ rule could be applied for the entire 2020-2021 winter season.

While Europe’s aviation industry is showing signs of recovery, haphazard travel restrictions and fear over a second wave of the pandemic have caused recovery to be slower than predicted. Subsequently leading industry trade bodies have united to facilitate a prompt decision over the urgent need for an extended slots waiver. This will ensure that upcoming winter schedules provide passengers with as much predictability as possible.

Airports Council International (ACI) Europe, Airlines for Europe (A4E), Airlines International Representation in Europe (AIRE), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the European Association of Slot Coordinators (EUACA) have agreed on specific conditions to ensure a timely return of slots not planned for use this winter. They are urging the European Commission to formalise an extension of the slots waiver and clarify how the conditions will be implemented.

“Decisions must be made now to enable the timely return of slots for the winter season once the waiver is granted,” said Olivier Jankovec, Director General, ACI Europe. “This will give airports and airlines certainty in planning their schedules and operations and ensure that passengers know what to expect in the tough months ahead. Further delays will paralyse the winter planning process and add millions in costs for all parties,” he continued.

Meanwhile Rafael Schvartzmann, IATA Regional VP for Europe added: “Only a full-season slots waive will ensure that the flying of empty planes is avoided and enable flights to be operated in the most sustainable way possible. Airlines and airports in Europe stand ready to apply the agreed conditions as soon as the full-season waiver is granted and call on the European Commission to endorse this agreement and authorise the waiver immediately.”

Editor’s comment: Quarantine roulette

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Less than two weeks ago, the UK opened up a travel corridor with Portugal enabling holidaymakers to travel freely between the two countries without having to self-isolate on their return to the UK. But a fortnight later and the corridor is at risk of closing again this weekend due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, Greece is clamping down on island restrictions after passengers arriving in Cardiff tested positive for COVID-19 having returned from the Greek island of Zante. Scotland and Wales have already placed Greece on its quarantine list as of Thursday 3 September.

Passengers understand there is a risk if they travel abroad and for many it’s a risk worth taking. But this game of ‘quarantine roulette’ is not a long-term solution. Heathrow Airport’s CEO, John Holland-Kaye, believes the UK Government simply doesn’t have the bandwidth to deal with anything beyond the current health crisis. Addressing Aviation Club members on Wednesday 2 September he underlined that, “It’s no good standing on the sidelines and criticising the government. We need to step up and help them understand that aviation is a lifeblood for the economy and re-opening borders safely is vital to ensuring a successful recovery.”

Heathrow, which in collaboration with Collinson and Swissport already has a COVID-19 testing facility ready to go, is pushing the UK Government to give the green light for COVID testing at airports. Holland-Kaye also acknowledges that it’s vital regional hubs across the UK are not left behind on the road to recovery. He noted that his airport is already in touch with Cardiff Airport to share and discuss its research on testing. “We need airports across our route network to be in an equally strong position as we emerge from the current situation,” he argued.

To help boost travel demand Swiss Airlines is also calling for coronavirus testing to be implemented at Switzerland’s airports to help passengers avoid the country’s compulsory 10-day quarantine requirement. Under Swiss Airline’s plan, the costs of the tests would be jointly covered by medical providers and airports rather than the passengers. And in Germany, those returning from abroad are tested free of charge at all major airports and have been since early August.

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA’s) Director General, Alexandre de Juniac, has lamented the lack of cooperation between governments in implementing the restart of air travel with policies such as closed borders and quarantines continuing to annihilate the industry. “What is killing aviation is the fact that governments are not managing the risks of open borders. Instead they are keeping global mobility effectively in lockdown… We need governments to take on the leadership to manage risks and adopt a mindset of not being defeated by the virus. Then, with testing, technology, science and determination we can re-open borders and get the world moving again,” he stated.

We certainly shouldn’t be gambling with aviation’s future. Yes COVID-19 has been devastating but aviation stakeholders still have everything to play for and as Holland-Kaye concluded, “We can achieve extraordinary things when we work together.”

Best wishes,

Chloe Greenbank

Editor, Regional Gateway