Executive Director of Indra and Transport & Defense business Senior Vice President, Ignacio Mataix has advocated at the EU Aeronautic Conference for a strong and sustained public investment in and support for the air traffic management industry to secure Europe’s position in the civil aeronautics sector going forward.

The annual meeting was hosted by the European Parliament’s Sky and Space Intergroup, led by Monica Holheimer, with the collaboration of ASD, on Wednesday, December 5, 2018 in Brussels. It addressed current and future European policies and tools, as well as technological strategies and challenges, with the participation of commissioners, European Parliament members, CEOs and experts.

In this context, Mataix said that the ever-increasing air traffic challenge could only be addressed through the use of cutting-edge technologies that improve service and optimize airspace and network capacity.

In this regard, Mataix stressed the need to secure a SESAR 3 program within the next multi-annual financial framework, Horizon Europe, to maintain the long-term stability of funding.

Indra’s chief executive emphasized that SESAR 3 should deliver a digital European sky, while dealing with future aviation challenges, including key aspects such as advanced automation at control centers, U-space for unmanned traffic management, and data virtualization to enable interoperability and cybersecurity.

Indra is one of the main air traffic management systems providers and plays a role in the public-private initiative SESAR, a technological cornerstone of the future Single European Sky.

It is also part of the iTEC (Interoperability through European Collaboration) alliance, in collaboration with some of the major European ANSPs.

Mataix stated that SESAR has been a success story thus far. He went on to say that over 90 prototypes and 60 new or improved solutions have been delivered in Sesar’s first phase, also called Sesar 1.

These solutions will contribute to reducing fuel burn by between 250 to 500 kg per flight by 2035, increase safety, and boost airport capacity by 80-100 percent, while reducing costs and increasing effectiveness.

Mataix explained that iTEC Suite, an advanced ATM system, has contributed to the first introduction of more efficient 4D Trajectory flights in Europe and enhanced air traffic interoperability among ground control centers and control centers and aircraft, while also supporting worldwide convergence with other airspaces.

Moreover, Mataix exposed that citizens will benefit from a reduction in travel times and fares, while the European economy will see job creation and a stronger aeronautics sector ready to compete worldwide.

Lastly, Indra’s CEO stressed the need to proactively develop and adopt new technologies and procedures.

He pointed out that Europe is already experiencing a capacity crunch and recalled that airports experienced a rapid deterioration in delays during the last summer season.

According to Mataix, merging technologies will help to tackle this problem, with automation systems assisting controllers to manage more flights with the highest safety standards; space-based surveillance making it possible to track aircraft over oceans and remote areas; Artificial Intelligence, enabling real-time and predictive decision-making and improving aircraft flow management; and cybersecurity, protecting air traffic operations.