Last year, the number of drone sighting reports quadrupled in Hungarian airspace. In 2018, pilots reported disruption over a dozen times to HungaroControl - Hungarian Air Navigation Service Provider. The company took the necessary steps each time. The increasing number and frequent utilization of drones is one of the biggest challenges and opportunities for business development in the upcoming years. It is important to know that inappropriate use of unmanned aerial vehicles has a serious safety risk. Recently, departures at Europe busiest airport Heathrow were temporarily stopped after a drone was reported to have been sighted. Earlier in the UK, Gatwick Airport’s runway was also closed for one and a half days due to extreme drone disruption. The number of incidents threatening aviation safety has also increased significantly in Hungary. In 2018, thirteen drone sighting reports were received from aircraft to HungaroControl. In 2017 there were a total of three such reports, in 2016 none. One of the most critical sightings was in November when a pilot of a departing flight reported to HungaroControl that a drone was just sixty meters (200 feet) below the aircraft. The company took the necessary steps with the involvement of the authorities in charge. HungaroControl has started the procurement of a system capable of detecting drones around the airport and displaying their data to air traffic controllers. Further information on the subject will be provided shortly.
In 2018 HungaroControl managed secure air traffic for more than one million aircraft - for the first time since the company’s establishment. However, the Hungarian Air Navigation Service Provider has not only achieved impressive results in the field of air traffic control last year but also received several international and domestic awards for recognizing its innovation activities. In recent decades, air traffic in the Hungarian airspace has grown almost tenfold, in line with global trends. HungaroControl - Hungarian Air Navigation Service Provider broke records in almost every month last year, and by the end of 2018 the company provided safe traffic for more than one million aircraft. This incredibly high value also includes the upper airspace over Kosovo. HungaroControl kept safety indicators at an excellent level even with this increasing air traffic. However, it is important that air safety is not guaranteed by records, but by the remarkable performance of the company's experts, which is still outstanding despite the increasing global air traffic. 2018 was a fruitful year for HungaroControl on the international stage. In March, the Remote Tower Project received Jane’s Award at the World Air Traffic Management Congress in Madrid and the Quality and Innovation Award at home. Furthermore, our pioneer air traffic management concept (HUFRA - Hungarian Free Route) has been awarded during the Dubai Airport Show. Thanks to the innovation - which also requires more complex work - the aircraft can fly through the Hungarian airspace as quickly as possible, thus reducing not only their fuel consumption, but also saves the environment from significant pollutants. HungaroControl’s goal is to become an outstanding player industry of unmanned aerial vehicles. For that very reason, in 2018, with the involvement of the Hungarian stakeholders, a large-scale professional meeting was organized where the first version of the UTM portal for recording drone flights, the mydronespace.hu and the MyDroneSpace smart phone application were presented. HungaroControl is committed to delivering its most important mission which is securing safe flight and landing with using state-of-the-art solutions and developments, so two concepts will be defined by the company in the coming period: innovation and security.
HungaroControl has been granted € 11.3 million, the largest EU funding of its history for new developments. Recently, four of our projects have benefited from a development resource, the most significant being the ’mirTWR’ program for tower control systems. Thanks to the mirTWR program, in the upcoming years the high-standard development of technological tools of the airport traffic control is provided. Improving the company's world-class Remote Tower solution, the control of Budapest Airport, Debrecen Airport and the Pápa Airbase from a single remote location can be tested in one/single simulation environment. The development has also raised international attention: Changi Airport in Singapore tests the prototype of a remote tower control center similar to Budapest, and HungaroControl is participating in the projects. The software development of the MATIAS control system, developed by Thales and HungaroControl's experts, has also received funding. As the member of an international consortium HungaroControl is also engaged in two other projects. All of the development projects contributes to further enhance flight safety and to help the effectiveness of air traffic control.