In November 2020, Eurocontrol published three scenarios for air transport recovery, all of which are linked to the evolution of the pandemic and the progress of vaccination efforts. In the most optimistic scenario, it predicted that traffic would return to 2019 levels by 2024.
The Spanish national air navigation manager and Aena’s main shareholder has faced the challenge of the decline in air traffic caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with the implementation of several lines of action: ENAIRE’s new business strategy, Flight Plan 2025 takes up the baton from Flight Plan 2020 (see ITRANSPORTE 60) and focuses on the recovery of the aeronautical sector and communication and cooperation between the company and its employees.
Among the first emergency measures, ENAIRE took the decision to drastically reduce its air traffic control charges at the end of 2020. The Spanish mainland en-route charge was reduced from 51.08 euros in 2020 to 45.44 euros in 2021, a decrease of 11%. Likewise, the en-route charge in the Canary Islands, which had already been lowered previously and is already lower than on the mainland, has also been reduced from 43.73 euros to 40 euros, a drop of 8.5%. According to the company’s data, Spain dropped its mainland en-route charges by 26% and those of the Canary Islands by 20% in 2020 and 2021, providing important support to the aviation sector during these years of crisis. Through these measures, ENAIRE aims to contribute to the recovery of air traffic in the face of its worst crisis in history due to the effects of Covid-19, to reduce costs for airlines and to help reduce ticket prices for end-users of flights.
ENAIRE’s Operational Plan, approved in February 2021, foresees an investment of 127.1 million euros this year for technological and airspace transformation. Among the main priorities are safety, Digital Sky, environmental sustainability, development of new strategic services, innovation and transformation 5.0. With the implementation of these initiatives, Enaire seeks to make counter-cyclical and transformative investments that will enable it to emerge stronger from times of crisis.
One of the main pillars of ENAIRE’s roadmap for the coming years is digital transformation, a field for which the Council of Ministers authorised, in April 2021, the tendering of contracts for investments in business management application development projects for an amount of more than 28 million euros to be spread over two years. With this investment, ENAIRE aims to increase the productivity and efficiency of processes, improve the satisfaction of internal and external users through the use of technological tools, and facilitate and speed up administrative procedures through the digitalisation of processes.
Enaire also has a budget of two million euros for the development of its U-Space platform in Spain. This development will enable them to provide services for the automated management of drone operations beyond line-of-sight range, in specific reserved spaces called ‘U-space’ and, most importantly, in a centralised manner via CIS (Common Information Services). These services are essential to safely support drone operations when the new European U-Space regulation comes into force in January 2023. The company also participates in various European programmes such as the AMU-LED project conducted with drones, within the framework of SESAR, or the DACUS project, in which European companies and institutions participate. Ineco is also involved in these projects.
Reducing the environmental impact of each flight is a priority issue for the EU, which is counting on SESAR’s high-tech initiatives to modernise the sector and achieve a better flight planning leading to reduced emissions and noise pollution, and optimised energy efficiency. ENAIRE has been collaborating with the European SESAR project since it began in 2008. Since then, the company has participated in around a hundred projects (the programme consists of more than 300), assuming a leading role in 16 of them.
Furthermore, as a collaborating company with the United Nations Global Compact, Enaire has joined REDI, the Business Network for LGBTI Diversity and Inclusion in 2021 within the framework of the Protocol signed on 29 June by the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA) with the aforementioned association. This initiative is part of the commitment to the implementation of equality and human rights as defined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, to which the company is firmly committed.