Despite the significant positive impact technology has had on the aviation sector, it can pose risks that can’t be overlooked. The grounding of the Boeing 737 Max fleet was a stark reminder of the challenges integrating new technology into human operated systems can bring.
Roger commented: “Air traffic controllers will face similar challenges as they face increased automation and digitalisation”. Tragic accidents have also occurred as a result of failed technology, and the possible reliance of one controller for multiple airports could call for human error.
In addition, Roger stressed the importance of training standards, and how controllers must maintain the traditional skills required to operate in the job as they would need today. As with any technology, they also face the risk of cyber attacks or outages. If numerous towers are reliant on one data source and power outlet, one outage could bring down the system and lead to diversions, delays and cancellations of hundreds of flights.
Ultimately, it is very likely that these remote towers will become a common feature within airports, and as a result it is increasingly important that insures can correctly assess the risks.
Roger concluded: “Indications are that the modernisation of air traffic management will further improve safety in the commercial aviation industry, but there are also likely to be challenges with the growing dependency on IT systems and data, as well as how air traffic controllers adapt to new and more complex ways of working.”
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