Lisbon named future home of Airspace World from 2025 onwards

CANSO has today announced Lisbon’s Feira Internacional de Lisboa (FIL) as the new venue for Airspace World 2025 and beyond.  

Simon Hocquard, Director General CANSO said: “The CANSO Executive Committee has decided that, from 2025, Airspace World will be held in Lisbon, Portugal. This means that the 2024 edition of Airspace World will be our last in Geneva. Lisbon is an excellent choice for our flagship event’s new home as it is easily accessible by air, and is a vibrant city which will offer plenty of opportunities for networking.” 

The Executive Committee decision was informed by extensive research by the Airspace World team to identify alternative venues. The team ranked a shortlist of five venues against a wide-ranging list of criteria including inbound tariffs and shipping costs, hotel and subsistence costs for participants, venue suitability and sustainability, ease of working with local suppliers, and accessibility and attractiveness of the venue city. 

“I am very much looking forward to the move,” Simon added.  “I look forward to welcoming attendees and exhibitors alike to Airspace World Geneva in 2024 and to Airspace World Lisbon in 2025.” 

Six months to go to Airspace World 2024

There are now just six months to go until Airspace World 2024 opens its doors to the thousands of Air Traffic Management experts who will gather in Geneva for the second edition of what is already the world’s largest Air Traffic Management and Airspace Integration event.

Simon Hocquard, Director General, CANSO, marked the occasion saying: “The Airspace World team at CANSO has been working hard since the doors closed on our inaugural edition to deliver an even bigger, better, and more impactful event from 19-21 March 2024.

 “I am convinced that Airspace World 2024 will be an unmissable event, bringing together as it does the leading industry ATM and UTM experts, decision makers, and influencers as we continue to build and deliver future skies. Here is an update of how things are shaping up already, and I look forward to welcoming you all back to Geneva in half a year’s time.”


With six months to go, already more than 100 of the worlds leading ATM, and UTM exhibitors have already signed up to bring their expertise and knowledge to Airspace World 2024.  These include industry leaders like Frequentis, Thales, and Indra, as well as some of the world’s largest ANSPs such as NATS and DFS.

Airspace World 2024 is also pleased to welcome new exhibitors such as Hensoldt and Meteomatics.


Airspace World 2024 will be supported by its platinum sponsors Thales, and Indra.

Theatre programme taking shape

The most influential people in both ATM and UTM will be taking to the four theatre stages for three days of in-depth analysis, discussion and debate on topics including innovation and digital transformation, reimagining ATM, green skies, unleashing the potential of drones, building resilience, and global safety and security.

Applications to speak at Airspace World 2024 are already being submitted.

Hotel booking now available

To help you plan your trip to Geneva next year, the webpage has just updated its ‘Plan your visit’ page, with links to the new hotel booking portal offering the best rates on a range of hotels across the city.

Keep up to date

Join in the build up towards Airspace World 2024 by following Airspace World and CANSO Global on LinkedIn, Twitter (X), and Instagram.

A look back at Airspace World 2023

Our week started with the CANSO Executive Summit 2023

And then three days of Airspace World 2023

We hope you enjoyed the networking, discussions and debate as much as we enjoyed providing it for you. We look forward to welcoming you back to Geneva next March for Airspace World 2024.

Academia vital to CATS roadmap

An education session on CANSO’s Complete Air Traffic System (CATS) revealed the work being done to make the seamless skies vision a reality.

Simon Hocquard, Director General of CANSO and Chair of the CATS Global Council, set the scene by asking how the industry can achieve a fully scalable, sustainable and resilient airspace system while safely integrating the ever-growing variety of new airspace users.

Managing the growth in commercial passenger traffic and the diverse performance profiles of new vehicles requires innovation and collaboration.

Recognising that every key player in the airborne vehicle ecosystem had a slightly different view of the future skies, CANSO set up the CATS Global Council to establish a shared global industry vision.

The CATS vision – which took account of the views of the 70 different organizations that make up the Global Council – was released in October 2021, and followed by the development of a roadmap to provide a clear direction for that vision.

The session explored the critical role universities and research centres will play. With artificial intelligence, data analytics, communication networks, and automation so vital to the next generation of air traffic management, the industry needs to engage with academic excellence.

Universities and research centres also help to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange among stakeholders. Combining the cutting-edge ideas of academia with the practical know-how of industry experts is helping to build an innovative yet realistic foundation for success.

In his opening speech, Hocquard also noted that universities and research centres are a link to “promoting public awareness and understanding of the benefits and challenges of air traffic management”. In many aspects, they also work closely with governments and other authorities and so can ensure the CATS vision is reflected in national and international policies and regulations.

Ultimately, the CATS vision and roadmap will create a safer, more efficient, and more sustainable airspace system for generations to come.

The panel:

Dr Tatjana (Tanja) Bolić, University of Westminster

Prof. Clyde Rinkinen, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Prof. Francis Schubert, McGill University

Large-scale drone ops are already here!

Large-scale uncrewed aircraft vehicles (UAV) and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations are already a common sight in some skies.

Zipline, a logistics company, has already clocked up more than 38 million flight miles and delivered more than 500,000 packages in Africa, for example. HHLA-Sky, a German company that sprang from a need to use drones at the Port of Hamburg, independently came up with a system that can control 100 drones simultaneously. Nuair has proven it is possible to fly from one international airport to another and is looking at crossing borders in the near future. Apian, meanwhile, is a medical drone startup, designed to deliver better healthcare for the UK’s national health service.

The point, says Conor Mullan, Managing Director, Think, is that all these companies have kept it simple and handled problems as they occurred. Mullan chaired a panel on large-scale drone operations and was struck by the approach taken.

“The companies started simple and looked at what they could do rather than what they couldn’t do,” he says.

Zipline catapults it drones into the air and uses a large net to collect them. And though this may not work in a complex urban airspace, a multitude of daily operations means the company is evolving quickly and utilising its experience to improve its service.

Crucially, the fact that drones are successfully operating at large scale builds trust in the sector as a whole.

Although much of the talk about drone operations revolves around the complexity of integration, standards and the right regulations – and these are, of course, important concerns – Mullan says the panel proved that starting with these difficult questions is perhaps not the best way forward.

“These companies had specific problems that they solved with drone operations,” he says. “And now they have successful, large-scale and BVLOS operations. There are lessons to be learned by the entire industry, which would inform a smoother path forward for UAVs.”

The panel:

Ken Stewart CEO Nuair

Okeoma Moronu, Head of Global Aviation Regulatory Affairs, Zipline

Thorsten Indra, Project Developer, HHLA Sky

Louisa Smith, Head of Aviation, Apian

Moderator: Conor Mullan, Managing Director, Think

Digital towers shape Estonia’s future

Adacel’s REVAL digital tower product is slowly being rolled across Estonia. Today (10 March) is the last day scheduled for shadow operations at Tartu, after which Estonian Air Navigation Services (EANS) will submit an application to approve remote operations on a permanent basis.

“EANS’ revolutionary vision along with our employees’ technological expertise is transforming the Estonian’s airspace management and makes it possible to modernize air traffic services at regional airports around the world,” says Daniel Verret, Adacel’s CEO.

This is the second REVAL tower in Estonia following the Estonian Transport Administration’s certification of remote operations at Kuressaare Airport. The country’s air traffic management strategy calls for the other two main regional airports to implement digital towers by 2025. Everything will then be controlled from a remote centre in Tallinn.

Lessons learned from Adacel’s work to date includes involving controllers and the local civil aviation authority from the first step. Working in harmonisation has made the implementation a positive experience.

Most importantly, controllers, pilots and regulators are equally happy with the end result. Controllers, for example, have complete control over the system and can add or turn off information as required. They can even adjust the angle of cameras. When fully operational, controllers will be able to switch between airports from a single position.

Adacel takes a modular approach, which keeps the investment threshold low. A simple frame tower can house the cameras, for example, and bandwidth can dictate the camera resolution. Cameras can also go from a 360° view to 270° or 180° and are protected from weather by rotating glass. Weather data is accurate and there are even external mics if a controller wishes to hear the wind or the sound of aircraft engines.

Crucially, every system is doubled up to ensure resiliency. Shadow operations begun in 2019 and there have been no incidents of note.

Airports look to collaboration for greater efficiency

Luis Felipe de Oliveira, Director General, Airports Council International (ACI) World tells Graham Newton that airports and air navigation service providers must enhance collaboration to meet future demand.

How important is it for all aviation partners to work together to make air travel efficient?

It is crucial. Otherwise, you will get a domino effect in all the issues that affect aviation and the industry will simply not be able to meet demand. Our estimate is that passenger traffic worldwide will reach 19.3 billion in 2041.The only possible way to accommodate those numbers is having all aviation partners working together. At an airport, capacity is dependent on air navigation service provider (ANSP) capacity, ground handling capacity, airline schedules and much more. The only way to manage airports is to be connected with all aviation partners.

Not only that, but we also have to do it in a sustainable manner. The industry is committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, which aligns with the Paris Agreement to restrict global warming to 1.5C. This commitment is the right thing to do for the needs of society and no one entity alone can make it work. Airports, airlines and ANSPs each need to play their part.

In addition, we must work together to improve the passenger experience. That is crucial to the future of the industry. Airports can’t exist without airlines and ANSPs and our partners can’t exist without us. But the fact is that there is no industry at all unless we are properly serving the end customer and putting them first. Everything we do should support the passenger journey to make it as seamless, safe and environmentally friendly as possible.

Where are the main opportunities for airlines and ANSPs to improve their cooperation?

Airports and ANSPs interface in the air and on the ground. What each one does affects how the other performs. We realise that there are many issues in common and we need to cooperate to find solutions.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) we signed with CANSO is a demonstration of that commitment from both parties.

What will the MoU deliver?

What we always want to do is make aviation safer. But this MoU will see closer levels of collaboration between both parties in the context of promoting the safe, efficient, and sustainable development of civil aviation.

One of the core areas of cooperations to come from the MoU is an Airport System Capacity Enhancement (ASCE) programme aimed at unlocking airport capacity and supporting the sustainable growth of air travel demand.

The ASCE programme provides a comprehensive onsite review led by industry peers to optimize the use of airport system capacity, both in the air and on the ground. This will help to reduce delays and in particular enable us to use a limited airport footprint on the ground more efficiently.

There will be tailor-made solutions for each airport in the programme. Can the airport taxiway and apron layout be improved or the approach capacity be developed, for example? And because the solutions bring greater efficiency, they will also reduce cost and carbon emissions.

Our efforts will also mitigate certain investments because airports will be making better use of existing infrastructure and systems. And that money might be available for other improvement projects, so it creates a positive path forward.

In addition, this MoU looks to bring airports and ANSPs closer together in training. The industry must attract the right people and talent is a key resource.

So, the MoU delivers a multitude of opportunities in capacity building, efficiency and training to both parties. A pilot is planned to take place at Jorge Chávez International Airport, in Lima, Peru with another one intended in the coming months. This will test the programme and discover what developments are available and how we might scale up.

What are the major challenges for airports going forward?

The airport level of debt is a huge challenge. Airports took on large amounts of debt during the pandemic to keep facilities operating. Our costs are largely fixed and a reduction in traffic means reduced revenue and economies of scale. Effectively, operating an airport became a lot more expensive.

We will also need to deal with staff shortages, which will be a significant problem as traffic resumes its normal growth curve. Any job at the airport requires training and so recruiting staff takes time and money. And then there are the macroeconomic issues, such as inflation, high interest rates, energy costs and supply chain disruptions.

Remember, 60% of industry jobs happen inside in an airport. There are 30-plus entities within our borders. Beyond those borders, we must work with customs, immigration and agricultural departments, to name a few. There is a lot that could go wrong, it is a complex ecosystem. But that also means there are many opportunities to get things right and improve. When everything is aligned, we have an efficient ecosystem that reduces cost, carbon emissions and passenger disruption.

A virtual insight into future skies

A vision of future skies is available at the Altitude Angel stand. Its simulation tool shows virtual integrated skies, where crewed and uncrewed aircraft safely share the same airspace, all managed digitally.

The tool shows a Skyfarer drone making a delivery between two UK hospitals and display all the technology developed by Altitude Angel to date, including its GuardianUTM platform and ARROW ground-based DAA (Detect-and-Avoid) system.

The simulation shows the flight being planned and the operation submitted, via the GuardianUTM platform Approval Services and Strategic Deconfliction functions. GuardianUTM then manages the flight and performs real-time tactical deconfliction on simulated drones, just as it would in real life.

Users can even choose which aspect of the scenario they wish to experience; that of a delivery drone, as a pilot in a GA aircraft or HEMS/blue light helicopter responding to an emergency, or in a UAM eVTOL craft flying alongside the delivery drone.

“Our immersive simulator is a first for the UTM/ATM industry,” says Richard Parker, Altitude Angel’s CEO. “We’re taking airspace managers out of the control tower and placing them right in the heart of the flight. The experience will give airspace regulators a unique opportunity to see and understand what tomorrow’s skies will look like, which we hope will allow them to realise what can be achieved within current regulation as well as help inform and shape future regulation.”

The ARROW ground-based DAA system is also a cornerstone of the UK’s drone superhighway, 265km of corridors running between the Midlands and the southeast. The superhighway is being built by Altitude Angel and several partners and, says Parker, will “revolutionise the way we transport goods and travel.”

The highways consist of a series of towers that are piggybacking on British Telecom (BT) infrastructure. As coverage improves, more direct routes will be flown. The so-called Skyway should be operational from summer 2024 and there are plans and funding to expand the network.

2023 Digital European Sky awards announced!

Projects addressing sustainable air traffic operations, better weather forecasting enabled by artificial intelligence and urban air mobility have received the top prizes in this year’s SESAR Digital European Sky Awards. The winners were announced on 9 June during an awards ceremony at Airspace World, the annual gathering of the global ATM industry. 

A distinguished panel of aviation representatives evaluated some thirty contributions to make a shortlist of the nine most exemplary projects in three categories: exploratory research, industrial research and very large-scale demonstrations. A People’s Choice Award was also handed out following votes cast by the audience during the ceremony at Airspace World.

The winning projects were recognised for demonstrating excellence in technological innovation, their potential to have a positive long-term impact on ATM performance, as well as their overall contribution to the SESAR programme.

Picking up the award in the exploratory research award category, the ISOBAR project was recognised for prototyping a storm forecaster tailored to air traffic management and a user-driven mitigation plan that takes into account flow constraints and network effects. The set of weather management boosters includes a neural network that integrates convective prediction into a structured airspace map, together with a set of AI modules, such as AI-based hotspot detection and adaptive mitigation measures, to support decision-making by the human operator.

Coming out top in the industrial research award category was the 4DSkyways project. Over the past two years, it advanced trajectory management (TM) solutions in support of the roll-out of trajectory-based operations (TBO), a critical enabler for greener and more efficient air traffic tested by controllers operations. The solutions, which were intensively tested by controllers and flight crew, allow for faster data exchange between the air and ground, as well as improved conflict detection and resolution.

In the very large-scale demonstration category, SAFIR-Med was recognised for its successful demonstration of emergency medical service delivery by drones. The project carried out a series of demos in the cities of Maastricht, Aachen, Hasselt, Heerlen and Liège showing how drones can be used to support Europe’s healthcare system. The results of this working is helping to accelerate the adoption of drones into the healthcare system in a safe, sustainable and socially acceptable way.

The ALBATROSS very large scale demonstration received the the People’s Choice Award. With over 1,000 flight trials, the project showed how to make more energy-efficient trajectories an everyday reality. The project has already brought optimised descent and climb operations to Paris airports that can reduce fuel use by up to 7% according to project lead Airbus, and Amsterdam Schiphol is on a pathway to zero emission taxi operations by 2030 with tests underway using autonomous tow trucks.

Presenting the winners with their awards, Andreas Boschen, Executive Director, said: “I would like to congratulate the winners, as well as all the nominees for their outstanding work and dedication to delivering best-in-class innovative solutions for air traffic management. The winning projects are emblematic of the work underway to deliver smarter and more sustainable air transport, across all three strands of research which make up the SESAR innovation pipeline.”

See pictures and the full list of winners here

Welcome to day 3 of Airspace World

I can’t believe this is the final day of Airspace World. Time has gone so quickly, which is a sure sign that the event has been busy and successful!

Airspace World is certainly living up to expectations. It is not just the size of the show that is impressive, it is the breadth of topics and depth of insight. The exhibitors and theatres are putting out rich content and solutions that will doubtless impact the future of our industry.

But the event is not just accelerating the innovative work being done in the air traffic management (ATM) sector but also providing visibility on all the projects in progress. Within the halls is everything you need to know about ATM and the incredible efforts to turn ideas into reality.

In short, Airspace World is fostering collaboration – the essential ingredient in a successful ATM industry. CANSO’s Complete Air Traffic System (CATS) Global Council is an example of collaboration in action. Today, in the Boeing Theatre, we have invited top aviation universities and research centres to present their research and innovative work and explain how it can contribute to achieving the CATS vision for future skies. Be sure to come along!

I’d also like to highlight the many other incredible theatre sessions taking place, all featuring industry experts. Among the many themes, sustainability features heavily. It is such a crucial topic going forward that it is heartening to hear so many discussions about reducing carbon emissions. This industry is committed to achieving net zero and the path to that starts now.

Finally, let me finish by thanking all those that have made Airspace World a huge success and established it as the highlight of the ATM calendar. Thank you especially to all of you that have made the effort to join us in Geneva. When our industry gets together and collaborates in the way it has done at Airspace World, I feel confident that we will deliver a safer, more efficient and more sustainable sky sooner rather than later.

Put Airspace World 2024 in your calendar now! I look forward to seeing you there!