GATCO would like to express its support to all the ATC and ATM professionals around the world who continue to work under very challenging social, professional and personal circumstances, keeping our skies safe in these unprecedented times amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although virtually all industries and businesses have been negatively affected, the aviation industry has been hit particularly badly due to the travel restrictions imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19. Recent European figures show that traffic has reduced by 88% compared to last year, with reductions of close to 100% in some countries.

This situation presents significant challenges to the ATM industry. ANSPs revenues are, for the most part, directly related to the amount of traffic in their areas of responsibility. The continuous decrease in air traffic and the inability to establish when in the future the trend will be reversed will undoubtedly have an impact on our industry and on our livelihoods to an extent which is still unknown.

Although there have been calls for the cancellation or deferral of the route charges paid to ANSPs, such action would have catastrophic consequences for the safe management of air traffic. In this time of crisis, the ATM industry is instrumental in keeping our skies safe and providing services to all the airspace users still operating, including repatriation flights, military aircraft, medical emergency flights, lifeline routes, cargo aircraft, many of them delivering much needed medical equipment, as well as other safety-critical operations.

GATCO continues to operate, working remotely, responding to airspace consultations, attending online meetings and providing support to our members and our industry. We would urge members with any concerns about their current and future professional situation to get in touch to identify how GATCO can best assist. We would also like offer our support and expertise to ANSPs and other ATM organisations in the UK.

When all this is over, there might be an opportunity to look at our industry and see what changes can be made to make us more resilient in the face of future challenges. But, for now, let’s concentrate on keeping our skies safe, on supporting each other in so far as possible and on following government and company guidelines to contain the spread of COVID-19.

GATCO Executive Board