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Guest column by Eduardo García, CANSO

Picture of Eduardo García González

Eduardo García González

CANSO / Manager European ATM Coordination and Safety

CANSO – the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation – is the global voice of the air traffic management (ATM) industry. Our members support 90% of world air traffic. We bring the world’s air navigation service providers (ANSPs), leading industry innovators and air traffic management specialists together to share knowledge, develop best practice and shape the future of our skies

CANSO - Eduardo García González
Eduardo García González,

While traffic volumes have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels flight volumes are at gradually increasing. US domestic and intra-Europe traffic is now at 85.5% and 71% of 2019 levels respectively while the Middle East and Asia regions remain the most significantly impacted.

ANSPs have faced many challenges over the past 18 months to keep skies open. But despite this the ATM industry has been evolving, finding new ways to manage a fluctuating traffic picture and boost recovery and resilience

Since the pandemic began, ANSPs in Europe have collaborated – sharing best practice on how to protect employees, maintain safe airspace and meet critical national and public needs.

Creating common solutions

When the outset of the pandemic first hit, our focus was on following health directives, and collaborating on crisis management and contingency planning across the region. CANSO developed a set of guidelines on how to Ensure Continuity of ATS Service Globally.

Once the restart  began, we shifted to recovery of ‘normal’ operations and worked closely with the EUROCONTROL Network Manager, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) and industry partners to develop key operations and safety initiatives including the jointly developed Aviation Safety Issues Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

While traffic volumes have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels flight volumes are at gradually increasing.

Boosting resilience

One of the key challenges for our members has been preventing the degradation of the technical skills of operational staff in low traffic levels. To tackle this, CANSO published the COVID-19 ANS Restart and Recovery Guide and supported EASA in developing guidelines on how to  maintain controllers’ skill. We also actively participated in the recently launched Ramp-up Be Ready – Stay Safe campaign

With many people experiencing extended periods of time off, greatly reduced schedules or additional pressures at work, human factors have been another key consideration.

CANSO and EUROCONTROL signed a cooperation agreement to strengthen our cooperation on safety matters in these unprecedented times.

CANSO has also been working in cooperation with IATA, IFATCA and IFALPA on a series of workshops on safely navigating the industry recovery to support a cross-industry approach to building resilience.

The goal of these activities is to ensure a safe return of air transport and ss the EASA Annual Safety Review 2021 shows – we’re making good progress but this work must continue.

Shaping our future skies

In finding solutions and building resilience, we must not only think about today but also tomorrow.

Our recovery and resilience efforts are the building blocks that are helping us to create a new path for aviation and ultimately shape our future skies. So whether its resurging traffic, new entrants to airspace or renewed commitments to address environmental performance, we’re working to build a global transport network of the future and to support every aspect of our ecosystem.

We are proud to be working with our industry partners and regulators to help make this happen. Indeed this collaboration has been crucial in working towards a resilient, robust and agile aviation system.


Eduardo García - CANSO


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