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Heads Up! Controlling Rush Hour in the Sky for Safe Air Travel

The drone cleared security, took off as planned, and was flying its chartered course when suddenly it veered off to the right. The air traffic controller in Dulles Airport watched with alarm as it headed right in the direction of a new supersonic flight coming in from London. Even worse, it was rush hour so the flow of commuter “air taxis” was particularly dense. The situation required quick action but which decision would avoid a collision?


Science fiction? Not really; it’s the way air traffic is changing rapidly and posing new challenges to safe travel for more and more passengers. Indeed, to make sure that air traffic controllers have the critical tools needed to manage the new rush hour in the airspace Thales provides the most advanced air traffic management (ATM) solutions available. Every day two thirds of planes around the world take off and land using Thales equipment.

“Thales offers air traffic controllers advanced tools that allow them to detect conflicts, test solutions, and make the best possible decisions to optimize the air traffic based on solid analytics,” says Todd Donovan, Vice President, Strategy & Marketing, Thales. This can be, for example, changing the planned trajectory of a commercial flight heading into a thunderstorm several hours ahead of time.

From take-off to landing, Thales offers the most complete range of solutions to address all Air Traffic Management, Communication, Navigation, Surveillance) needs to provide efficient Air Traffic Control (ATC) and cope with today’s domestic and international travel growth

Soon planes will be competing for airspace with drones and other UAVs, “air taxis (four-passenger commuter vehicles), supersonic transport, more satellite launches and military missions, or vehicles being sent up by Amazon, Facebook and others. Adding to the pressure on controllers is the tremendous growth in commercial air traffic, the need to redirect traffic quickly to avoid severe weather conditions, as well as a void concerning traffic regulation of drones.

Thales’s solutions will make sure that aircraft are guided safely and that airspace is managed to accommodate the changing needs of air traffic, so that tomorrow’s skies remain safe, as well as friendly.


This article is part of a series published for the Farnborough International Airshow in England, 16-22nd July 2018.