SENASA has a new Business Development Unit, led by Francisco Belda, created at the end of 2020 with the aim of positioning the company as a benchmark in knowledge and experience in security and safety, drones and sustainability not only in the aeronautical industry, but also in other means of transport. Francisco Belda has several years of experience in civil aviation industry and has been a member of SENASA since 2008, when he joined the SECURITY team as AVSEC Auditor, becoming its coordinator some years later. He faces now the challenge of boosting the commercial activity of the company in order to take advantage of the changes that are coming within the industry.
What do you think is the future of the Spanish aeronautical industry?
That is a complex issue and you cannot predict exactly what will happen. If we look at the current environment, we can see that the aeronautical industry faces two important challenges and one great opportunity.
The first challenge is to overcome the pandemic. Although it is a global situation and it affects all means of transport, it does not affect all of them to the same extent. Due to its universal nature and the fact that it is able to connect people who are on the far side of the planet in less than 24 hours crossing several countries, the air transport appeal or scope may be limited in case of borders closures or quarantines restrictions. To ensure that the activity can be carried out, a harmonization of the rules is necessary, as has already been done both in Spain and in the rest of Europe. There is also a need for an improvement in global health standards to ensure this universality. In order to return to a normal situation, the goal should be that all points of origin are safe and, in order to achieve this, it is necessary to go beyond the aviation itself.
The second great challenge is sustainability. During the past few years, air transport has been working to become increasingly efficient and sustainable. At this point, aviation has managed to join forces and get together all the different industry stakeholders involved: Administration, infrastructure managers, air navigation services providers, airlines, passengers, and so on. As an example of this, there are national and international organizations and companies involved in several projects and tenders focused on noise levels improvement, increase of sustainable fuels and emissions reduction, among others.
In the third place, we face a great opportunity with the increase of drones (UAS), which thanks to technological developments (5G, artificial intelligence, robotics, big data...) will generate an aviation which is still unknown to us by now. Drones will democratize the airspace by making it accessible to a large part of the population. This will allow us to change processes which are currently expensive, dangerous and polluting, into others that are more economical, safe and sustainable.
How do you consider SENASA will face these challenges and opportunities?
We are fortunate to have a team of highly qualified professionals at SENASA, who have extensive knowledge of the industry and have been working on these issues for a long time.
We are currently in a good position, although this does not mean that all the work is already done. We have to stay aligned with the sector and with the Administration to allow the correct development of air transport.
Efforts to maintain and improve SENASA’s position have been done, continue to be done, and will have to be increased in order to manage two of the questions which will be expanding once the industry starts to recover. On the one hand, there is a clear commitment to sustainability as, for example, the support of projects related to biofuel based on urban waste, something we hope will soon become a reality. On the other hand, regarding UAS, our staff has been specifically trained, we have adapted to the new regulations on training matters, and SENASA is already certified as an operator. We are very pleased to see how all this work is now successfully blooming.
How do you think SENASA contributes to society?
As I mentioned before, SENASA staff are highly qualified professionals with a wide knowledge in air transport. That is our unique value proposition and our great contribution to society: a broad and in-depth knowledge of the air transport sector.
This value proposition is not only intended to provide this knowledge to entities in the aviation industry, such as authorities and international organizations (which are our main target group), but also to those that sooner or later will use airspace thanks to the UAS. Some of these cases would be, for example, the State Security Forces, port authorities, infrastructure managers, and so on.
This knowledge from SENASA has an additional value, as it is a complex one due to the nature of the industry. Taking into account its social impact, its global, its evolution or the fear of flying, methodologies and procedures have been developed with the nature aim to be useful for other means of transport. For example, the railway industry is already assessing security systems and implementing safety management systems following aeronautical standards.
How do we make this value proposition available?
We offer our knowledge mainly through two types of services: training and consultancy or technical support. Each of our professionals offers SENASA's experience and knowledge at the service of the industry on a daily basis: during meetings, inspections, maintenance tasks, and training sessions... at all times, each professional plays its role as a representative of the company and its unique value proposition. They are the holders of knowledge and the present and future of the organization.
Our task now consists of encouraging, enabling and facilitating that our professionals show that unique value proposition to transform it into opportunities to get further. We have to keep up with a very changing and increasingly demanding sector, while full of challenges and opportunities.