During WATMC, Sharon Cooke, CEO, Airways International Ltd shared with ATM Magazine their strategy for remaining strong during the COVID-19 pandemic. Analyse – Thrive – Survive was the umbrella strategy that resulted in a thriving company and recognition in the industry for their handling of this challenging situation for all in our industry.

So what did they do? They took six steps to determine their way forward.  Beginning with looking at the current environment and understanding the needs of their global customers, building a plan and executing it. Although located in New Zealand, the company works with clients in 65 countries in the Middle East, Europe, Asia Pacific and Australasia. Many industry partners also play a role in delivering their services. 

After a better understanding of the landscape, they came up with a plan to deliver more contracted work projects, protect existing customer programmes, digitise products and services to offer more solutions from the cloud and look after their employees to ensure they felt confident they had a role during this tough time.

If you’re not familiar with the full breadth of services offered by Airways International, it’s quite extensive.

  • Airways training – courses, programmes, partnerships that include Airways Knowledge Online – a virtual training academy, AirBooks – interactive digital learning and Total Control – ATC simulation which they were able to provide remotely and with their ‘Sim in a Suitcase’ solution
  • SureSelect – ATC selection using the tools already mentioned to help determine if the appropriate ATC skills are in place or if there are gaps that need to be addressed within your organisation
  • Flight Yield – Aviation revenue and billing
  • Aeropath – Aeronautical information and flight procedures under the umbrella of ICAO compliance   
  • Airshare – Traffic management for UAVs with increased situational awareness for ATC
  • Aviation Services to help ANSPs address requirements from infrastructure to flight inspection, data provision, upper airspace management and aviation consultancy services.

This portfolio is quite extensive and allowed the organisation to continue to work with their customers during the pandemic and explore remote solutions that may not have been developed under normal circumstances.  These new ways of working will remain a part of our daily lives and hopefully increase efficiency and support ongoing resiliency in the way we work.

Focusing a little deeper on AirShare, we discussed the strategy here. The focus is on airspace management under the U-Space concept. ANSPs are the customers for this tool in order to do permissions management, as one key example of the functionality. The solution integrates with multiple data sources and third party suppliers via software APIs. This functionality can enable UAV detection systems, pilot/drone registry systems, UAV flight position data and digitized airspace charts. There will hopefully be some announcements of ANSP customers in other regions coming soon.

Regarding the topic of UAM and/or AAM this will likely start with a pilot onboard in order to help with human acceptance of traveling in this type of vehicle. In order for this to really take off there will need to be an air architecture where there isn’t a requirement for segregated corridors.

Please check back for Issue 3 of Air Traffic Management Magazine on sale later in September for a detailed Q&A with Sharon Cooke on a range of topics.