Felipe VI presided this morning at the inauguration of the World Air Traffic Management Congress “World ATM Congress”, which will take place these days at Ifema. It is the world’s largest air navigation and drone event, which will bring together some 6,200 professionals, including managers and technicians from the sector, representing 130 leading companies in the sector from 115 countries.
The King toured the different stands and learned about the latest developments in mobility technology, such as a hydrodrone that has already flown in the Canary Islands. Also a prototype with one hundred percent Spanish technology, which is an unmanned air taxi to act in emergency and rescue situations. With a range of 15 kilometers, it is a model that is expected to be used for the mobility of people in urban centers.
During the inauguration, Don Felipe stressed that “the air navigation and the drone industry walk together towards the same place” and have the same challenges for the future. «Air transport has suffered seriously the harsh consequences derived from the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, this industry was – and continues to be – one of the most affected, ”explained the King. In this regard, he stated that “The global collapse of air traffic has set us back more than 15 years”: «We are facing the greatest crisis in the history of air transport. This situation affects the aeronautical industry as a whole, that is, air navigation service providers, airlines, airport operators … Spain is no exception. We are a country open to the world and for us air transport has enormous strategic, social and economic importance.
“The aviation industry contributes decisively to the development of our society,” said the King, while commenting that “the figures in this regard are very revealing”: globally, the sector represents more than 3% of GDP – generating approximately 9 million direct jobs and 49 million indirect jobs — and fueling economic development in many other sectors. “This is very significant in our country, because 8 out of 10 tourists who arrive in Spain do so by air,” he added.
Don Felipe stressed that “we have real reasons to be proud” for having a national manager of air navigation services such as ENAIRE “among the most important in the world for its innovative capacity, managing more than two million flights in 2019”. Also an “airport operator such as AENA, world leader in number of passengers” and airlines that have chosen Spain “as a base of operations, or as a country of origin or destination.” In addition, he praised that the aerospace industry “is one of the world leaders in terms of air traffic management” and the “very robust growth of our drone industry.”
Before concluding the opening ceremony, the King sent a message of optimism regarding air traffic. “Despite all the difficulties of 2020, this year air traffic has started to rebound, and the prediction is that it will reach pre-pandemic levels between 2023 and 2024, according to the latest estimates,” said Don Felipe. And he added: “The latest data from the summer of 2021, as well as the lifting of restrictions, indicate the first symptoms of a recovery that is up to all of us to consolidate.”
Finally, the King had a word of thanks to all “aviation professionals who work in navigation and air traffic management” and also to managers and engineers, air traffic controllers, pilots, technicians … to all professionals who do possible the daily miracle of flying ».