Johan Decuyper receives prestigious ATCA award in US

FABEC rewarded for its innovative research on unpredictable factors in air traffic control

At the presentation of the ATCA awards in Maryland (US) Johan Decuyper, as FABEC Chairman of the CEO Board, received the air traffic management category award. The prestigious award is presented to an organisation of exceptional merit in its sector.

FABEC's Johan Decuyper (in the middle) receives prestigious ATCA award in US
FABEC's Johan Decuyper (in the middle) receives prestigious ATCA award in US

ATCA (Air Traffic Control Association) is a professional organisation, open to all who share a common interest in promoting and encouraging the advancement of aviation and air traffic control. Once a year they organise a large conference where experts from across the world keep abreast of the sector’s developments by attending lectures, workshops and informal contact opportunities. This year it was the 63th time that the conference took place.

Each year various awards in different categories are presented during this event. The awards are a recognition to those persons and/or organisations engaged in the development, operation, or maintenance of the worldwide air traffic control system for outstanding achievement.

Innovative FABEC research

This year FABEC was handed the David J. Hurley Memorial Award for Aviation Traffic Management. This award recognizes achievements in the areas of vision, strategy and leadership. FABEC received the award because of its innovative work in the field of volatility and adverse weather. The different member states conducted common extensive research on the consequences of unexpected events and extreme weather conditions on air traffic control.

FABEC has researched a wide scope of unexpected events, focussing on situations impacting air traffic in general and air traffic control in particular: the Syria crisis, opening or closing airspace over the Ukraine, low-cost companies that suddenly no longer service certain routes, changes within the air traffic control centre services themselves,… They all impact the day-to-day activities of the air traffic control centres and their staff. FABEC has mapped them out and also attempts to suggest solutions with regard to the predictability of such events.

Another specific phenomenon are the (increasingly) extreme weather conditions as a result of climate change: heavy rains, severe thunderstorms, gales, blizzards,… They are of unprecedented intensity in the past two decades, with often serious consequences on aviation, e.g. airports having to close, flights being cancelled, aircraft having to detour. FABEC also researched those phenomena in order to appreciate the effects and make recommendations as to how such situations are best handled.

FABEC was invited to Maryland by ATCA to give a presentation on these matters.

Johan Decuyper, Belgocontrol CEO and FABEC Chairman of the CEO Board, collected the award. In his speech he explained the reasons why he is proud to receive the award on behalf of FABEC: “This award is not only an acknowledgement of the result of our research and recommendations, but also a reward for each and every participant in the study. Cooperation between the air navigation service providers of the six FABEC member states is excellent, as these projects and other initiatives demonstrate. This award is an incentive to continue on our path and shows how our co-operation can inspire others.”

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About skeyes

skeyes ensures the safety and efficiency of air traffic in Belgium 24/7. The skeyes air traffic controllers manage over 3,000 aircraft every day, which makes up over a million flight movements per year. The autonomous public company is active at the heart of Europe, in one of the busiest and most complex sections of airspace of the continent. skeyes is active at Brussels Airport and at the airports of Antwerp, Charleroi, Kortrijk, Liège and Ostend. Thanks to its CANAC 2 control centre skeyes manages the flight movements above Belgium and a part of Luxembourg up to an altitude of 7,500 metres (*). The company relies on its nearly 900 experienced staff members who are at the service of their customers: airline companies, airports, the aviation sector and the authorities. skeyes also develops innovating services regarding drones and contributes to a sustainable future of the aviation sector, among other things with respect to the environment.

skeyes is a member of FABEC, a joint airspace block (Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland) with the aim of improving air navigation efficiency in the heart of Europe in the framework of the Single European Sky.

(*) The upper airspace of the Benelux countries and North West Germany is managed jointly with the EUROCONTROL centre in Maastricht. 


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