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Reporting period: 2020-11-01 to 2021-10-31

About 90% of the most in-demand flights travel over volcanic areas. The global airline industry is losing more than US$ 500M per year because of the disruption caused by the volcanic ash cloud to airlines and, eventually, billions of dollars to related aviation stakeholders (airports, engine manufacturers, insurance and service providers, etc), according the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Atmospheric dispersion of hazardous substances influences many economic markets and poses safety and operational problems to different segments of the aviation industry. In the last decade, regulation frameworks for air navigation in presence of volcanic ash changed to allow airlines to decide whether to operate under low-contaminated airspaces and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has required engine manufacturers to certify engine susceptibility to volcanic ash and other hazardous pollutants. In this context, a gap exists between available information on dispersion of hazardous substances and industry needs at operational level, creating a market opportunity of approximately 15M euros in 5 years. Aeronautics is one of the EU’s key high-tech sectors on the global market, generating around 220 Billion Euro and 4.5 Million direct and indirect jobs. The EU is a world leader in aerospace products and aeronautical technologies are catalysts for innovation contributing to the growth of EU economy.

MITIGA Solutions has developed ICE4ATM, an innovative and disruptive High-Performance Computing (HPC) software capable to provide solutions for ATM (Air Traffic Management) during emergency situations, involving dispersion of atmospheric hazards such as volcanic ash and mineral dust. The impact assessment is based on calculations of a unique algorithm that employs external atmospheric dispersion models, parameters for flight plan configurations, aircraft specifics, and forecasted weather conditions. The objective of this proposal is to increase ICE4ATM TRL from 6 to 9.

MITIGA is a spin-off of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), the national supercomputing facility in Spain and a world-renamed institution with large experience in developing and implementing supercomputer models in the fields of geophysics, volcanology and atmospheric impacts, among others. MITIGA’s team currently includes people with different profiles: management, software engineers, research scientists, business developers, etc.

MITIGA already commercializes two Software as a Service (SaaS) products: i) MITIGA-VIEWS, an operational (24/7) Volcanic Impact Early Warning System for airlines to improve their Safety Management Systems; ii) MITIGA-EDOSE, a contaminant dose calculator for engine manufacturers to monitor and enhance maintenance of their leased turbines. MITIGA’s 5yr Serviceable Obtainable Market for the aviation industry is 11M € and 4M € for the engine manufacturers.
During the ICE4ATM project several tasks were carried out to reach different technical and commercial goals. As mentioned in the previous question, the main objective of this project is to increase ICE4ATM TRL from 6 to 9. Within ICE4ATM project, we have achieved the TRL 9 that we were expecting, that ended up in contracts with the industry. To achieve this TRL, the main actions and consecutive results of each WP have been the following ones:

- WP1: Successful management of the project achieving a 105% of justification of all the financial statements forecasted for the period.
- WP2: Increase the TRL of the ICE-based products from 6 to 9.
- WP3: Produce a software layer to operationalize ICE-based products, early warning system side are already operational and stable enough to produce useful services for the clients.
- WP4: Improve forecast precision, based on data analytics and satellite data processing. Satellite based event detection and characterisation are not good enough for operationalization but useful for simulation validation.
- WP5: Marketing and exploitation strategy of ICE4ATM products, as during the project we've opened around a 100 leads in the aviation market and with the market analysis provided, we've created the exploitation and executed the strategy for the project.
- WP6: Communication and dissemination of ICE4ATM results attending to conferences/webinars and increasing our presence in social media, press releases and sponsoring several events. Also, in the second period of the project,our focus has been in the training to potential stakeholders and early adopters of our services.

Despite current situation due to Covid-19 and the difficulties industries are facing, ICE4ATM project has finalized on track and with the results expected.
In general, airlines report an average of US$ 500M a year in losses caused by volcanic eruptions (as mentioned in 1.1). For that reason, airlines need a commercial Early Warning System to forecast and mitigate these impacts to volcanic ash. MITIGA-VIEWS is oriented towards this goal by providing information in advance that helps in avoiding or reducing delays, re-routings and cancelations impacting directly in their economy. Moreover, the resulting service rom ICE4ATM improves not only the current state-of-the-art in terms of temporal and spatial resolution, but also in terms of quality and uncertainty quantification.

From their side, engine manufacturers rent their aircraft engines to airlines and provide annual maintenance based on a scheduled fee. Volcanic ash and mineral dust severely damage aircrafts components, particularly reducing the engine lifetime and increasing the maintenance frequency and the losses on flat rates contracts. Moreover, engine manufacturers do not have a system in place to monitor the exposure of their engines to contaminants. MITIGA-EDOSE can help these stakeholders to better quantify the engines exposure and then be more competitive and avoid losses on maintenance contracts. The service also extends the state-of-the-art in data analytics for providing information about engine exposure by joining data from different sources and improving accuracy of predictions.

Despite the current impact of Covid-19 on the aviation industry (60% loses in 2020 compared to 2019, and more than EUR 425 billion in losses by March 2021 by ICAO), this is still both a strong sector for the European Union’s economy, and an increasingly important means of transport for EU citizens and businesses.
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