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ISSUE February 2017

Innovation in ATM – evolution or revolution? by John Swift

I recently read a report entitled “Airport and Air Traffic Control System” produced by a panel of scientists, technology companies, controller and pilot representatives and airframe manufacturers. The report was drafted after investigations requested and endorsed by both House and Senate committees of the US Congress. These Committees were concerned about traffic growth and congestion, and the impact and cost this would have on the travelling public; as well as the feasibility and cost of proposed solutions.

From an airport capacity perspective, the report noted that new runways are an option, but this often encounters significant opposition from local residents. Instead it suggests utilising technology to automatically meter traffic into and out of busy airspace, and enabling enhanced navigation techniques to create curved approaches and better utilise airspace.

The report acknowledges that “ the FAA is planning a program of technological improvements intended to enable the National Airspace System to handle a higher volume of traffic with increased efficiency and safety.” These technological changes “will permit a level of automation in ATC that will greatly reduce the workforce” and include improved data link between aircraft and ground facilities” to enhance capacity.

Another key area of the report are the financial aspects; whether the benefits outweighed the costs; how to raise the necessary capital; how users should be charged etc.

You’re probably thinking that at least 45th US President Trump’s new Secretary for Transportation has the report she needs to get down to work on the infrastructure enhancements we heard so much about during the campaign last year. And because the issues sound so familiar, you’d be forgiven for thinking that.

However, like me, you may be surprised to discover that the report in question was delivered at the end of the initial year of 40th President Reagan’s first term in January 1982. The Office of Technology Assessment that drafted the report was abolished over twenty years ago, and you have to go digging around the archives cared for by Princeton University if you want to know more about the future views of our industry from a time when a mobile phone was still connected by a cable to something the size of a car battery.

Thirty-five years later, we still know that new runways are a challenge to deliver; traffic metering and curved approaches are potential terminal airspace solutions; increased use of decision support tools and controller-pilot data link will reduce workload; and delivery structures and funding remains a challenge. So nothing has really changed has it?

Well possibly on the solution side of the equation it is correct that little has changed, however the challenge has grown considerably. Between the year the report was published and 2015 there was a 270% increase in passenger numbers according to the US DoT Bureau of Transportation Statistics; the FAA were handling just over 5 million flights a year in 1981, compared to 8.7 million in 2015.

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Passenger traffic at DXB grows 9.4 per cent in November

Passenger traffic at Dubai international registered an increase of 9.4 per cent in November 2016, according to the monthly traffic report issued today by operator Dubai Airports.

The airport welcomed a total of 6,581,805 passengers in November compared to 6,013,911 passengers during the same month in 2015, an increase of 9.4 per cent. The year to date traffic in November totalled 75,947,899 passengers, up 7 per cent compared to 70,961,598 passengers recorded during the first eleven months of the year in 2015.

India (YTD 958,763 passengers) was the top destination country in terms of total passenger numbers recorded in November – the growth spurred mainly by increase in capacity and launch of new services by Spice Jet, Jet Airways, Air India and other carriers during the year, followed by Saudi Arabia (469,483 passengers), the UK (465,385), and Pakistan (308,071). The top regions in terms of percentage growth were Eastern Europe (26.5 per cent) and Asia (17.3 per cent) followed closely by the GCC (17 per cent), while London (286,986), Doha (235,910), Mumbai (202,041) and Riyadh (151,791) were the top destination cities with highest growth during the month.

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Passenger traffic at DWC surges 84.5 per cent in 2016

Passenger traffic at Dubai World Central (DWC), Dubai’s second international hub, witnessed a strong surge in 2016, climbing 84.5 per cent according to the traffic report issued by operator Dubai Airports today.

DWC welcomed a total of 850,633 passengers in 2016, up 84.5 per cent compared to 461,063 passengers recorded in 2015. During the fourth quarter, passenger traffic at DWC totalled 248,405 up 39.9 per cent compared to 177,608 passengers recorded during the last three months of 2015. Passenger traffic growth at DWC is mainly driven by flydubai, one of Dubai’s two flagship carriers which operates on average 41 weekly flights to five destinations from DWC, in addition to its operations at Dubai International’s Terminal 2.

Air freight volumes at DWC showed a slight increase during 2016 with 897,998 tonnes, up 0.8 per cent compared to 890,912 tonnes during 2015. Cargo volumes registered strong growth in the fourth quarter with 252,300 tonnes of air freight, up 10.3 per cent compared to 228,770 tonnes recorded in Q4 of 2015.

DWC is currently served by 27 passenger carriers, operating an average of 108 flights weekly to 44 international destinations and is home to 64 scheduled cargo operators that fly to as many as 138 destinations around the world.

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DXB extends its lead as #1 airport for international passengers

Dubai International has retained its title as the world’s number one airport for international passengers after near record numbers in December propelled the hub’s annual traffic to 83.6 million passengers in 2016, according to the annual traffic report issued by operator Dubai Airports today.

With monthly passenger traffic breaching the 7-million mark six times during the year, including the historic 7.72 million traffic in August, DXB’s annual traffic in 2016 totalled 83,654,250 passengers, compared to 78,014,838 in 2015, a robust growth of 7.2 per cent. The surge of travellers during the holiday season boosted monthly traffic in December to 7,706,351, up 9.3 per cent compared to 7,053,243 recorded in December 2015.

During 2016 a number of new airlines, including Nepal Airlines Corporation and Rossiya launched services to DXB, while 11 new passenger destinations were added to the hub as a result of network expansion by flydubai, Emirates and other international carriers.

Spurred by capacity increase and the launch of new services by Spice Jet, Jet Airways, Air India and other carriers, India continued to lead as Dubai’s single largest destination country for the full year with 11,440,215 passengers in 2016, up 10.1 per cent compared to 10,391,376 passengers recorded in 2015. Saudi Arabia took the second spot with 6,086,158 passengers (+11.3 per cent) just marginally overtaking the UK at 6,061,342 (+6.7 per cent). In terms of destination cities connected to DXB, London took the top spot from Doha with 3,751,596 passengers, while Doha clocked 2,999,762 passengers followed closely by Mumbai with 2,357,103 passengers.

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Munich Airport sets new record of over 42 million passengers in 2016

Munich Airport's robust growth trend continued in 2016 with new records for total passengers and freight turnover. The number of passengers increased by 1.3 million, or 3 percent, over the previous year to a new all-time high of 42.3 million, and the number of aircraft movements was up by almost 4 percent. The total of 394,430 take-offs and landings represented an increase of 14,500. Without last year's strike-related disruptions, which led to cancellations of about 3,000 scheduled flights to and from Munich, the increase in aircraft movements would have been an even more impressive 4.6 percent over the 2015 figure. The strikes affected approximately 330,000 travellers. The airfreight segment posted the strongest growth. The more than 334,000 tons of freight handled at the airport represented a 5 percent year-on-year increase.

"The strong gains in our traffic figures clearly demonstrate once again that growth in demand for mobility is steadily rising. This will continue in the coming year. Based on slot requests submitted by the airlines to date, we expect a 4 percent increase in aircraft movements in 2017," said Dr. Michael Kerkloh, the President and CEO of Munich Airport.

As in previous years, the growth seen in passenger numbers in Munich is based above all on strong gains in international traffic: With about 6.8 million passengers – an increase of 5 percent – the intercontinental segment again posted the strongest gains. Demand was particularly strong for the long-haul routes to Asia, where passenger numbers rose by more than 5 percent as compared with 2015. In 2016, direct routes from Munich to both Asia and North America routes carried more than 3 million passengers (3.3 million and 3.2 million, respectively).

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Traffic growth and airline profitability were highlights of air transport in 2016

Preliminary figures released today by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) indicated that the total number of passengers carried on scheduled services reached 3.7 billion in 2016, a 6.0 per cent increase over last year. The number of departures rose to approximately 35 million globally, and world passenger traffic, expressed in terms of total scheduled revenue passenger-kilometres (RPKs), posted an increase of 6.3 per cent, with approximately 7,015 billion RPKs performed. This growth is a slowdown from the 7.1 per cent achieved in 2015.

Over half of the world’s tourists who travel across international borders each year were transported by air. Air transport carries some 35 per cent of world trade by value. More than 90 per cent of cross border Business to Consumer (B2C) e-commerce was carried by air transport.

The forecast of world real gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2016 is expected to be at around 2.4 percent, down from the 2.9 per cent pace projection at the beginning of the year. The revision is due to sluggish growth in advanced economies, stubbornly low commodity prices, weak global trade, and diminishing capital flows. Despite the weak economic conditions, global passenger traffic continued to grow helped by the lower air fares owing to the fall in oil prices.

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When clouds are a good thing for aviation

The critical role cloud computing plays in the management of international civil aviation will be presented by Marco Merens, ICAO’s Chief of Integrated Aviation Analysis, at the United Nations World Data Forum taking place in Cape Town today.

“The Accident Notification System is a good example of how ICAO uses the cloud to collect, store, organize, analyze and ultimately share information,” Merens said. “Assuming we have an accident that meets the established criteria, the Crisis Response Team at ICAO automatically receives an email and message notifying them of the event, and allowing the organization to run a real-time accident monitoring system. Without the cloud, it would not have been possible to process such a great amount of information in such a short time.”

He explained that in this example, data is collected from various data feeds, citing the Aviation Herald, the Aviation Safety Network and Flight Global as examples of sources. The process consists of downloading data from these feed services every three hours and storing it in the cloud. The data is then processed through Elastic MapReduce or EMR on Amazon, a programming framework that supports the processing of large amounts of unstructured data into smaller tasks. Duplicate accident data is then removed, reports from different sources are combined and the desired data is automatically merged it into one single document or report. Such reports are generated automatically and contain real-time information.

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Airbus achieves targets proving ramp-up readiness in 2016

Airbus’ commercial aircraft deliveries in 2016 were up for the 14th year in a row, reaching a new company record of 688 aircraft delivered to 82 customers. Deliveries were more than eight percent higher than the previous record of 635 set in 2015. These included 545 single aisle A320 Family of which 68 were A320neo, 66 A330s, 49 A350 XWBs and 28 A380s. Over 40 percent of single aisle deliveries were the larger A321 models.

Airbus achieved 731 net orders from 51 customers of which eight are new. These included 607 singles aisle and 124 wide-body aircraft. At the end of 2016, Airbus’ overall backlog stood at 6,874 aircraft valued at US$1,018 billion at list prices.

“We delivered on our objectives in a challenging environment, proving our ramp-up readiness for the future. I salute all our teams on this outstanding achievement,” said Fabrice Brégier, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and Chief Operating Officer of Airbus. “Our strong operational performance combined with a robust market eager to place orders and take deliveries of aircraft in all sizes are now an excellent springboard for our next steps: Boosting deliveries, harnessing the advantages of Digital and extending our service portfolio globally.”

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2017 price adjustment for Airbus’ modern, fuel-efficient aircraft

Airbus has increased the average list prices of its aircraft by one percent across the product line, effective from January 1st 2017. This price increase has been calculated according to Airbus’ standard escalation formula over the January 2016 to January 2017 period and takes into account the materials and commodities prices.

John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer Customers, Airbus Commercial Aircraft said: “Our new 2017 pricing affirms the value of Airbus’ modern, comprehensive and fuel-efficient aircraft family.” He added: “The price increase also reflects our customers’ satisfaction with the winning combination of performance, operating economics and passenger experience.”

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Airlines and Airports Prepare to Predict the Future

Airlines and airports are investing in technologies to help predict and prepare for future events. This is according to The Future is Predictable, a report published today by air transport IT provider, SITA. It outlines how efforts are being made to tackle the estimated US$25 billion cost of flight disruptions to the air transport industry by harnessing artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, predictive analytics and other progressive technical capabilities.

SITA’s analysis reveals that predictive tools using artificial intelligence and cognitive computing are likely to be adopted by half of airlines and airports over the coming five to 10 years. However, a few front runners are already trialing predictive modeling, machine learning, and data mining. These efforts are mainly focused on initiatives that will provide passengers with more relevant information about their journey to create more seamless and personal experiences.

Nigel Pickford, Director Market Insight at SITA, said: “There is a desire to remove as much uncertainty as possible during travel. Airlines and airports are focusing on technologies that will make them more responsive to issues in their operations. This will enable them to improve their performance and customer services. At SITA we are funneling investment into specific research around disruption management. Our technology research team, SITA Lab, is currently developing disruption warning and prediction capabilities using industry-specific and public data feeds such as Twitter, to help tackle this huge challenge and reduce this tremendous cost to the industry.”

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CAE signs a series of commercial and business aviation training solution contracts valued at more than C$250 million

CAE announced today a series of aviation training contracts valued at more than C$250 million with airlines and business aircraft operators worldwide. The contracts include cadet-to-captain training programs, crew resourcing services, and the sale of 12 full-flight simulators (FFS), bringing the total number of FFS sales announced to date this fiscal year to 38.

The contracts highlight the span of CAE's commercial and business aviation training solutions. They include:

Ab-initio pilot training and resourcing agreements, illustrating CAE's support to the growing need for airline pilots

Airline and business aviation pilot training contracts, demonstrating the recurring nature of CAE's offering

The sale of 12 full-flight simulators, highlighting CAE's continued market leadership in training equipment

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CAE wins more than C$1 billion in training services contracts with U.S. Army and Royal Canadian Air Force

CAE today announced that it has signed two long-term training services contracts with the United States Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) with a combined value of more than C$1 billion, including options.

The contract with the U.S. Army is for rotary-wing flight training classroom, simulator, and live flying instructor support services for one year with eight one-year options until 2026. The training is delivered at the U.S. Army's Aviation Center of Excellence (USAACE) at Fort Rucker, Alabama. The contract with the RCAF is a modification and extension to 2023 of the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) program where CAE provides ground-school classroom and simulator training, and supports the live flying training of military pilots in Moose Jaw and Cold Lake, Canada. In addition, CAE will also add new capabilities and perform a range of upgrades and updates to the overall NFTC training system and aircraft over the next several years The modified operating period of the NFTC contract includes a one-year option to extend the contract through 2024.

"We are honoured the Royal Canadian Air Force has extended its contract with CAE, and that the U.S. Army has selected CAE once again as its training partner to support the instruction required for its new helicopter pilots, which follows our contract to provide fixed-wing flight training to Army aviators," said Gene Colabatistto, CAE's Group President, Defence & Security. "These contracts are testimony of CAE's successful strategy to focus on long-term training services that leverage our training systems integration expertise and help our defence customers enhance safety, efficiency and readiness."

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Bristol Airport Adopts BlipTrack Kerb-to-Gate Technology to Streamline Operations and Boost Traveler Experience

Bristol Airport, one of UK´s fastest growing airports, is implementing a queue and flow management solution from Denmark-based BLIP Systems to help enhance the passenger experience and improve operational efficiency. The solution, called BlipTrack, measures passenger flow and dwell times, which enables the airport to understand how travelers move through and use the airport.

Passenger numbers exceeded the seven million milestone for the first time in Bristol Airport´s history in 2016. To ensure the passenger experience remains positive as volumes increase, the airport has enlisted the expertise of software specialists Gentrack to implement BLIP Systems´ BlipTrack Kerb-to-Gate Solution. The technology will provide the airport with a cohesive picture of guest experiences—from the moment they arrive, to when they leave, and everywhere in between.

It will enable Bristol Airport management to retrieve both live and historical information about specific patterns, such as walking routes, entrance and exit usage and time spent in specific areas—such as car parks, check-in, security, lounges, gates and more. Managers will be provided with an understanding of how disruptions or changes affect standard behaviour, and how to optimise each and every area to operate optimally.

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Upcoming Events
Cargo and Personnel Screening Conference
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
20/02/2017 - 21/02/2017
+971 4 364 2975
www.cargopersonnelscreening.iqpc.ae


The Connected Aircraft Conference
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
07/03/2017 - 08/03/2017
+971 4 364 2975
www.connectedaircraftme.com


World ATM Congress 2017
Madrid , Spain
07/03/2017 - 09/03/2017
+1 703 299 2430
IFEMA, Feria de Madrid
www.worldatmcongress.org


Airport Solutions Turkey
Istanbul , Turkey
11/04/2017 - 12/04/2017
+971 4 603 3321
www.airportsolutions.com/turkey/


Dubai Heliconference
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
18/04/2017 - 18/04/2017
+971 4 328 5666
Dubai South
dubaiheliconference.com


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