Will it ever happen? An integrated traffic management system that both manned and unmanned aviation can make fraternal use of? That was the main question during the panel discussion on Global Airspace integration on Wednesday during ADW Hybrid.
CANSO’s Director General, Simon Hocquard, took part in the discussion about global airspace integration at Amsterdam Drone Week on Wednesday 30 March, and stressed the importance of the entire aviation industry coming together to manage the impact of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Traffic management (UTM). Hocquard: "The biggest risk at the moment is that we keep talking and do nothing."
Joining Hocquard on the panel were Koen De Vos, Secretary General of GUTMA (global UTM Association), Mildred Troegeler, Director Global Regulatory Strategy at Boeing, and Jorge Chornique, Head of UTM Strategy at Airbus. And while each had their own take on the challenges of merging traditional airspace management to include UAS and space travel, all were aligned on the need to keep talking and agree on a joint approach.
Koen De Vos of GUTMA sees the discussion as a clash of two worlds. “Where manned aviation still thinks in decades, we think - in unmanned aviation - in months. We want to move much faster. We work with new technology that works according to completely different rules. Ultimately moving from a person-driven industry to an operation-driven industry.”
According to De Vos, we are currently witnessing a true paradigm shift. “The momentum of this new paradigm is really growing, so we have to act fast.”
De Vos is not afraid that the two worlds will not find each other: there is already extensive cooperation and listening to each other. “But we will also have to invite completely new stakeholders who do not yet have a voice in this discussion, such as the cities. Because UAM takes place above their territory.”
Jorge Chornique stated that the main point of concern is that there are no two airspaces. “We all operate in the same airspace. So we can't live without each other.”
Hocquard spoke about the Complete Air Traffic System Global Council’s vision for the skies of 2045 and how the more than 50 bodies on the council had agreed a way forward. “We have a single, aligned view from organisations that represent the entire aviation industry. We all know that integration and harmonisation are essential for the future of aviation and airspace management as a whole. Personally, I have never seen a group of cross industry leaders so committed, and that is great to see.”
The main themes of the discussion generally concerned the speed of change required, and the ways in which the technology developed by UAS manufacturers and operators also benefit civil aviation and piloted aircraft.
Mildred Troegeler mainly saw opportunities. “I see the new entrance in the aviation industry not as a disruptor but rather as a much needed catalyst for a new way of thinking that ultimately will be to the benefit of the entire aviation industry.”
But the overall theme was that of integration, and accommodating all airspace users. “It’s not about Air Traffic Management or UTM, it’s just traffic management. It’s about airspace for everyone, whether you’re three feet off the ground or on the edge of space.”
Troegeler: “As Boeing we have more than 100 years experience as an aerospace company. We are a good ambassador to bring those two worlds together. On the one hand, we bring a lot of experience in the field of aviation safety. And at the same time - with our joint ventures in Wisk and SkyGrid - we are an important new player in the market. So we have two feet in both worlds. We learn from one and make the other safer.”
Want to experience the session like you were there and learn even more? Watch the recordings of the Global Airspace Integration session via the ADW Virtual platform*.
*Event registration is necessary.