EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW: Sebastien Jodeau, Managing Director ATM & Airport Systems, ADB SAFEGATE
Click on image to download high resolution version
How has the pandemic impacted the air traffic management industry in the Middle East?
Globally, the ATM industry has been struggling on account of reduced air traffic that has delayed investments in technology and systems over the last 18 months. The Middle East region has been no exception with a 60% reduction in air traffic in 2020 compared to 2019. However certain countries like the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have used this time to focus on shaping ATM and airside operations automation, optimization and collaboration through extensive adoption of technology and systems. A mix of global and regional events and initiatives have been contributing factor and we are optimistic that air traffic will make a strong recovery within the region in the coming quarters and thus remain positive on our outlook for the ATM industry in the Middle East.
Have industry players been quick to adapt technology to cater to the changing needs in the market?
ANSPs have been closely monitoring changing needs and trends on the technology front and some of them have been leading the way in adopting or trying out new technology, be it in ATC systems integration and collaboration or increased focus on enhanced surveillance of air and ground space.
In which areas and geographies do you see strongest potential for growth?
Our market research and interactions with leading ANSPs and stakeholders in the industry suggests Asia, the Middle East and Europe regions have quite a strong potential for growth in air traffic and accordingly for the ATM industry. The Middle East in particular has been at the forefront of this growth driven by the demand for major infrastructure and by the economy opening and expansion plans that some of the GCC countries in the region have embarked upon over the next 3-5 years.
What technologies do you predict will impact the ATM industry most in the next five years?
Digital transformation has been driving Industry 4.0 and in that sense Airports 4.0 as well. ATC and accordingly the ATM industry have significant opportunities to adopt digital solutions. Our analysis suggests significant value can be derived by the industry particularly in areas of airside integration and collaboration alongside the adoption of things like virtual towers. We are investing our systems roadmaps in these areas quite extensively.
What are your expectations from Dubai Airshow 2021 - which will be the first of its kind event since the coronavirus outbreak?
This would be one of the first events planned that allows for a physical presence and the opportunity to, in person, interact with the market in almost two years. We are quite optimistic that the Dubai Airshow and its targeted industry stakeholder sessions like the GATM conference present the right platform for us to share our thought leadership on emerging trends and approach on breaking the siloes for aviation stakeholders and interact with industry stakeholders comprehensively and have their views and feedback as well.
How the industry can better prepare for air traffic fluctuations, what have we learnt?
Digital and contactless technologies have helped our industry significantly in making air travel safe and sustainable. In the post pandemic world all the aviation stakeholders have realized the role of technology and its value. Continuous adoption of next-gen technological advancements and solutions in every operational area would help industry in responding to air traffic fluctuations so they can scale their operations on demand. It is imperative for our industry to embrace the digital transformation within aviation as a norm going forward. The mantra going forward should be collaborate and cooperate.
How can we increase collaboration between ANSPs and airports to create a more efficient aviation ecosystem?
Collaboration and information sharing are foundations for efficient airport operations and airport management and we find ourselves in a unique position to support our customers, be it airports or ANSPs in integrating their operations and systems from the airfield, apron, tower and terminal perspective through our comprehensive solutions. It is important that each stakeholder within the aviation ecosystem has access to the relevant and contextual information as this holds the key to safe, efficient and sustainable air travel.
Lastly, what are ADB SAFEGATE’s plans ahead in the region?
The Middle East has been one of the most promising regions in appreciating ADB SAFEGATE´s value-driven approach. We foresee strong potential in the region with upcoming greenfield and expansion projects and are quite confident that the digital, unified platform-led approach we have taken towards our AGL, Gate, Tower and Airport Management Systems, will support the airports and ANSPs in the region. Visit https://adbsafegate.com/ for more information on our products and services that can help enhance your business performance.