In 1998 the Regie der Luchtwegen/Régie des Voies Aériennes turned into the autonomous public company that we know today. Belgocontrol is fully owned by the federal government, but it acts completely independently with its own Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Belgocontrol ensures the safety of air traffic at the national and regional airports and of inbound and outbound air traffic in the Belgian airspace. Our air traffic controllers have managed around 20 million flights in the past 20 years.
In the course of those 20 years, some major milestones have each contributed to an improved operability and service provision for our customers, especially the airports and airline companies. But the world of aviation and air traffic control is in constant evolution and Belgocontrol adapts to those changing circumstances. That way it safeguards its future in an international competitive environment.
Since 2014 the Executive Committee, under the instructions of CEO Johan Decuyper, in close collaboration with the Board of Directors, headed by president Renaud Lorand, elaborated a future-oriented vision, mission and strategy for Belgocontrol. It is based on three pillars: partnering with our customers, partnering with our staff and building a future-proof company.
The first and key mission of Belgocontrol is and remains to guarantee the safety of air traffic. Although that role often goes unnoticed, it is absolutely crucial to air traffic. Throughout the history of Belgocontrol, the company has been proved a vital link in the air traffic chain. That is why the past few years Belgocontrol has been investing heavily in reliable systems and why it continues to establish procedures designed to keep guaranteeing business continuity in all possible scenarios. That guarantee is invaluable to the various stakeholders. It is also the basis for mutual trust in a collaboration in which all partners have an interest to further strengthen the aviation sector as one of the major economic sectors in our country.
By the end of 2019 Belgocontrol will employ around 900 staff, with plenty of new colleagues having joined us over the past few years. Management has also introduced a modern corporate culture, in consultation with staff members. More than ever before Belgocontrol highly values customer-friendliness. All staff members are aware of the interests of our customers, but also of their appreciation for their work. That mutual understanding leads to very concrete cooperation agreements from which all parties involved shall benefit. For example, investments will be made in technical installations that increase the airports’ capacity or that ensure a smoother information flow between them or to the outside world.
Belgocontrol is also increasingly becoming a modern employer promoting a good work/life balance for its staff. Thanks to our New Ways of Working project the work environment of the future will become reality within Belgocontrol.
Belgocontrol closely follows the technological developments in the aviation sector. The company is already researching the possibilities of digital towers. Other air traffic control agencies in Europe are already using them and Belgocontrol can and will not miss that boat.
On an economical level, aside from the ever growing market of air traffic, a very dynamic sector of unmanned air traffic or drones is being developed. Belgocontrol attaches particular importance to safe drone traffic and at a later stage also to the integration of that new air traffic in traditional air traffic. Belgocontrol is already participating in a large number of projects that explore the possibilities drones have to offer, so as to draw the necessary lessons from it for air traffic control. Our company is a European trailblazer in that respect.
Belgocontrol is also extremely aware of its societal role. Attention is drawn to combining economic and ecological interests, and justifiably so. Locally, by reconciling the airports’ growth with the living conditions around them. And in a wider context, by saving on fuel, complying with noise standards or cooperating in developing renewable energy sources (wind turbines). Belgocontrol is an active partner in various projects that help achieve those objectives or that research how to achieve them. That way Continuous Descent Operations or ‘green landings’ can be applied as much as possible.
Another challenge for the future is the unification of the airspace. In our own country that will be achieved by aligning the civil and military airspace. That is why both air traffic control centres – Belgocontrol and military air traffic control – will be cooperating together at the site in Steenokkerzeel by the end of 2019. At a European level, Belgocontrol cooperates proactively in the unification, which implies optimisation, of the complete European airspace so as to increase capacity but in the meantime keep ensuring safety.
The future vision of Belgocontrol can be summarised in one slogan:
We will bring the most safe, sustainable and unique experience to every single airspace user.
The icing on the cake of corporate change will be the new image that Belgocontrol will be promoting. As from 8 November 2018 Belgocontrol will be called skeyes.
skeyes of course refers to the airspace and the eyes of our air traffic controllers that are focused on the sky. But it also represents the way in which the company looks at people: the passengers, the customers, the stakeholders. We keep an eye on their interests and desires throughout all departments of our company: from the technical staff, the meteorologists, the administrative staff to all supporting services. And skeyes looks ahead, toward the future: a sustainable future for the company, with special attention to sustainability of air traffic and our planet.
Our new baseline is Nice to guide you. This is a double reference to both our mission to guide air traffic safely and the aspect of meeting someone.
The logo’s blue and green colours suggest safety and sustainability. The lines through the logo symbolize the lines the air traffic controllers see on their radar screens.
To Johan Decuyper, Belgocontrol CEO, this new identity is just a next, albeit important step in the company’s history: “The present that we are giving ourselves on the occasion of our twentieth anniversary, is a part of the new corporate culture that we introduce. I am proud that I can help shape the reform of this dynamic company. But this is just the beginning of the challenges ahead: we have to maintain our position in the international competitive environment of air traffic control. However, I am very confident that we are ready for that future: we have invested in strong partnerships in all our working areas, nationally as well as internationally. We keep on innovating and we take our societal role seriously. And above all I am convinced that we can count on the professionalism, the know-how and the enthusiasm of our staff so that we may keep performing our duties.”
Renaud Lorand, president of the Board of Directors, declares: “The aviation sector contributes to a large extent to the Belgian GDP and a lot of people are directly or indirectly employed by the aviation industry. Today skeyes is profoundly rooted in our country’s aviation community and it has the ambition to remain a key partner in the sector. skeyes wants to link excellent service provision for its customers to its societal role in the field of ecology and community.”
Minister for Transport François Bellot: “This anniversary gives me the opportunity to congratulate all of the Belgocontrol staff members for the work that they have performed in the past twenty years. Since 1998 Belgocontrol has always been putting safety first in performing its mission as air navigation service provider. The company has evolved tremendously, but the sector keeps changing too and in the coming years, new challenges lie ahead. Digitalisation, new infrastructure and altering procedures will enable to meet the societal safety and environmental needs. Belgocontrol has donned a new identity and with that, it has started a transformation process that has to be reflected in its relationship with its customers and its surroundings.”