09 November 2023


Click on image to download high resolution version

Have industry players been quick to adapt technology to cater to the changing needs in the market?

I believe industry players are going as fast they can within the current constrains. It’s quick in terms of respond but not fast enough in terms of speed. The Adaption of technology has not been very fast compared to the changing needs in the market. That is due to 3 different reasons, Firstly, the regulations that are governing the deployment and implementation of these technologies requires careful steps that is required for POC, verification and validation processes. Secondly, the technologies themselves are changing and evolving very rapidly which makes it challenging for decision makers to adapt one technology or the other that is financially feasible and sellable.. And the third reason is that the ecosystem as a whole needs to adapt technology at the same speed, from regulators, service providers and customers so that the use of these technologies can be accepted at all levels in the ecosystem. One example is the adaption of eVTOL technology, the technology is being developed and enhanced relatively in a fast pace with many players in the market ready for the commercialization and implementation of the Technology, however, the regulations governing eVTOL is not moving at the same speed as the infrastructure and the safety requirements are still lacking in many parts of the world. This means that the adaption of such technology will not happen as fast as the industry players hope for.

In which areas and geographies do you see the strongest potential for growth?

Based on the forecast projections, the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions are expected to see the strongest growth potential for air navigation and ATM solutions through 2040. Global air travel demand is predicted to grow at 3.4% annually, surpassing 8 billion passengers by 2040 compared to 4 billion in 2019. The Asia-Pacific market specifically is estimated to expand at the fastest rate of 4.6% yearly, adding over 2.5 billion new passengers. Meanwhile, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) block is projected to have the second highest growth rate of 3.7% per year, contributing over 276 million additional passengers by 2040. Within MENA, Saudi Arabia's robust aviation infrastructure indicates opportunities.

This significant expected traffic growth in Asia-Pacific, led by China and India, and the Middle East regions will necessitate large-scale modernization and expansion of existing ATM infrastructure to adequately manage demand. Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, remote digital towers, and unmanned traffic management for drones present substantial prospects as solutions to support the anticipated aviation industry developments.

What technologies do you predict will impact the ATM industry most in the next five years?

Several emerging technologies are expected to reshape the ATM industry. Digital and remote towers are pivotal in offering robust and resilient air traffic control services. Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) systems will be crucial for safe integration of drones into the airspace and in advance air mobility as well, and data analytics tools and its integration with Artificial Intelligence that will provide valuable insights for decision-making and strategy development. In addition, the importance of cybersecurity will grow significantly as the industry becomes increasingly digital and interconnected.

How can new technology support air traffic capacity growth?

New technologies can support air traffic capacity growth by enhancing efficiency, safety, and sustainability. For instance, remote and digital tower technologies can provide air traffic control services to multiple airports from a central location, increasing airspace capacity while ensuring business continuity. Also the adoption of Artificial Intelligence in the operations of Air Navigation can increase efficiency and provide a platform for better decision making in creating new Routes that would optimize the Airspace.

What are your expectations from Dubai Airshow 2023?

Dubai Airshow has always been a platform for showcasing the latest innovations in aviation, and the 2023 edition is expected to be no different. Given the focus on recovery and growth post-COVID-19, we expect to see a lot of emphasis on technologies that enhance safety, efficiency, and sustainability. We also look forward to networking opportunities, collaborations, and partnerships that will shape the future of ATM and air navigation services. SANS was always present in Dubai Airshow as a stakeholder in the region, but in the past couple of years SANS was engaged with many giant clients in KSA like Neom, Red Sea Global and ROSHN offering Engineering, Informational, and Consultancy Services. Now, we can sell our services through Nera, our New subsidiary that will act as the commercial Arm for SANS. There you will learn many products and Services that are crucial in the sector like the Maintenance Efficiency Manager, and Virtual Tower.

Lastly, what is SANS’ plans in the region?

As an Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), our foremost priority is to ensure the safety and efficiency of air traffic. To accomplish this, we are planning to significantly invest in research and development to innovate and improve our services in the aviation sector. We aim to focus on developing the ATFM capability even further and strengthen our regional presence by investing in local infrastructure and forging partnerships with regional and global stakeholders. Furthermore, we are deeply committed to enhancing the resilience of the region's air traffic management systems and ensuring business continuity under all circumstances. Our R&D efforts will be instrumental in driving these advancements, ultimately contributing to a safer, more efficient, and resilient aviation sector.

Stay up to date

Subscribe to our free email updates.
You'll get about two emails per month. We'll never share your address.