GATCO attended the annual Global ATS ATM Seminar in Cheltenham, UK, on the 7th of June 2018, presenting our views on the future of the ATC profession. This year’s seminar topics included Remote/Digital Tower Services, Electronic Flight Progress Strips (EFPS) and Human Factors; with presentations from Micro Nav, Insero Air Traffic Solutions, Ports of Jersey, East Midlands Airport, Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, Loughborough University, NATS and GATCO. The main message from each organisation was:

  • Micro Nav highlighted their work on remote tower training, display enhancements for the controller and the introduction of speech recognition not only for basic training but also for busy simulation exercises.
  • Insero Air Traffic Solutions (part of Insero Group in Denmark) introduced their work on tower solutions, focusing on small and medium-sized airports and ANSPs.
  • Ports of Jersey described their remote tower work together with Frequentis. Their plan was to develop a remote tower contingency facility including EFPS.
  • East Midlands Airport presented the results of their experience introducing EFPS, using a solution from ADB Safegate. The presentation concentrated on human factors, detailing the involvement of the controllers, how their concerns were addressed and the importance of not underestimating training requirements.
  • Highlands and Islands Airports presented their ATM Strategy 2030. The main aspects of their ambitious project are: controlled airspace at all controlled aerodromes; centralised surveillance service; centralised out of hours aerodrome flight information service; transition to space-based communications, navigation and surveillance; remote tower centre and a review of SRATCOH regulation.
  • Loughborough University. Mike Hirst gave his views on remote tower technology and the analysis airports should make regarding financial viability, statutory compliance, efficiency and effectiveness, before embarking on a project of such magnitude.
  • NATS gave an introduction to human factors and how understanding human performance requirements is crucial to fully understand the operation. A study of human factors and human performance aspects with regards to controller training showed that confidence and resilience appear to have more influence than technical ability in the success of the trainees.

GATCO’s President, Luis Barbero, gave a short introduction to the work GATCO undertakes both within the UK and internationally before discussing the three main topics that will affect the ATC profession in the future: automation, remote towers and the integration of drones. The presentation also described how GATCO is approaching those three topics, ensuring that the views of GATCO members are taken into account in the research, development and implementation of the subjects shaping up the future of air traffic control. GATCO’s presentation is available to download here.