EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW: Moritz Manzel, Regional Manager, DFS Aviation Services Germany
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How has the pandemic impacted the air traffic management industry in the Middle East?
The air traffic management industry was impacted in a similar way all over the world when it all started. However, the Middle East being a global aviation hub did cope with this crisis proactively from the beginning. As a result, recovery and continuity of operations were managed more professionally compared to other parts of the world.
Have industry players been quick to adapt technology to cater to the changing needs in the market?
We have seen many positive changes and adaptation throughout the whole industry. As a quick win, we did immediately adjust our service portfolio by integrating advanced remote services. Not only in the field of training but also remote acceptance testing of our ATM system projects all over the world.
In which areas and locations do you see strongest potential for growth?
Growth through optimisation (automation & digitalisation) will be the key driver for future growth because conventional solutions are limited as is the airspace. By introducing new technology and procedures such as Remote Tower Control, a high degree of interoperability, advanced flow management solutions as well as free route airspace or even single sky models then the sky is not the limit. We do believe that the Middle East and Africa as a continent have the strongest potential for growth.
What technologies do you predict will impact the ATM industry most in the next five years?
Technologies will have to adapt to use cases, trends and demand. Efficiency will become one of the most important performance areas. Green and efficient flying will have a big impact on technology in the next 5 years. Advanced ATM systems will enable free route airspace and direct routings, optimised flight profiles, advanced in-trail spacing, etc. This new technology will be beneficial to airports, airlines and ANSPs.
What are your expectations for the Dubai Airshow 2021 – which will be the first event of its kind since the coronavirus outbreak?
We do expect an industry restart after challenging times in one of the main aviation hubs within the Middle East. The Dubai Airshow has always been an event where trends and mega-trends are showcased to the world. We believe that a new era of aviation can be started – even a step back is often a step towards the goal.
Lastly, what are DFS Aviation Services’ future plans in the region?
We want to bring our expertise and strength to our partners to help them cope with the post-Covid era and be part of this restart. The Middle East was and still is one of our strategic core areas where there is always potential to implement state-of-the-art solutions in a short period of time.
How can the industry better prepare for air traffic fluctuations? What have we learnt?
Flexibility and a modern personnel management model are key to success for any further air traffic fluctuations, as was always the case. DFS Group survived the current pandemic crisis without any job cuts and worked out a Covid recovery plan from day one onwards.
How can we increase collaboration between ANSPs and airports to create a more efficient aviation ecosystem?
We believe that this pandemic crisis showed us once again that nobody is independent from each other. It’s not only ANSPs and airports that need to collaborate but also airlines. Reduced air traffic impacts all stakeholders in a negative way so viewing aviation as one system is very important and crucial for success.