Scaling up ATM Operations following COVID

Scaling up ATM operations

As air traffic slowly starts to resume, airports need to scale back up their air traffic management (ATM) operations. Whilst few UK airports closed during the Covid-19 lockdown, all reduced operations and re-igniting them is a major task, but one that can be achieved without difficulty if the right principles and processes are in place.

So how do you scale back up an airport’s ATM operations? There are three key principles to keep in mind.

  • Ensuring the safety and security of your people at all times
  • Having effective and well-established processes and procedures in place
  • Safeguarding the ability to deliver across all areas of your operation

So what do you need to do to achieve this? There are a number of key factors to consider:

Total resilience – you need processes in place that provide continual backup capacity – whether that’s people or technology – using carefully balanced risk management to ensure your recovery journey can continue unabated.

Dynamic solutions – with many external, uncontrollable factors at play such as infection rates and passenger demand, the recovery timeframe is uncertain. So, it’s crucial to have flexible solutions in place, such as employee Covid testing, that enable you to respond quickly to events as they happen.

Empathetic employee engagement – throughout the lockdown and recovery phases, employees have been asked to embrace new ways of working to support key areas of the business. It’s crucial to take them with you on that journey, providing constant communication, reassurance and explanation.

Managing operational risk – ensuring a seamless partnership with airport customers enables you to effectively manage sudden increases in aircraft movements and the associated risks that come with that such as increased risk of infection from higher levels of resourcing.

Damon Knight, Head of Safety, Security and Quality (SSQ), has led ANSL’s efforts to scale the ATM Operation back up. He has over 25 years ATC experience having worked as an ATCO and operational Manager at various units throughout the UK.

Smart collaboration – sharing learnings with other ATM providers is crucial to ensuring best practice in a constantly evolving situation where we’re learning all the time. From people management, to system rolls outs and integration, sharing insights with your peers is enabling the ATM industry to respond more effectively to Covid-19.

In summary, we as an industry need to be dynamic, resilient and collaborative to overcome the ongoing challenges that Covid-19 poses, and continue on a well-managed path to recovery. Our Attis operational compliance solution is designed to help airports do just that.

And there are many reasons for optimism – not just the increasing levels of air traffic but also the aviation industry’s proven track record in managing risk and finding solutions to challenges. Our industry is already rising to that challenge successfully.

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