Skysoft-ATM, a major solution provider to the airport traffic management industry, today announced the Albatross™ open source community project, a key initiative to boost innovation in the ATM industry. The project home at was launched today. Skysoft-ATM also announced their commitment to contribute leading technologies to the project.

The first of a series of technologies to be contributed to the project by Skysoft-ATM will be the Albatross Display™, an advanced, flexible ATC radar display solution that will be made available to the Albatross community in June 2009, under the GPL license.

Open source software is known in the IT industry for its better quality, higher reliability, security, interoperability, lower entry cost and its ability to end predatory vendor lock-in. The Albatross project will bring the same advantages to the aviation industry.

“Vendor lock-in is becoming a significant problem for customers of surveillance technologies in the ATM industry. The open source Albatross project now brings an open base for improved opportunities for customisation, user optimisation and significant cost savings,” said Pierre Henri Guisan, managing director at Skysoft-ATM.

Skysoft-ATM will also produce an enterprise version based on Albatross Display, which will be tested, certified and come with full professional support services. The enterprise version will become available later in 2009. Through this key initiative, Skysoft-ATM aims to facilitate the wider adoption of advanced ATM technologies to the broader industry.

The founder of the Albatross project is Skysoft-ATM’s manager, Didier Berling, who was originally a key player in Skysoft-ATM’s efforts to create solutions that were compatible with lower cost, commodity hardware. Mr Berling sees Albatross as a continuation of that philosophy; “Based on the Albatross platform, we will now be able to bring more innovative and cost-efficient open software solutions to the aviation industry. Regional airports and airports with limited budgets will, for the first time, be able to access advanced surveillance products, allowing them to increase safety in their airspace. We expect the industry to benefit from the facilitated distribution of innovative technology.”

“The DFS recognise the high value of open source technology and the key role it can play in facilitating our industry. Therefore, we appreciate the bold initiative that Skysoft is making on behalf of the industry through this exciting new project,” said Ralf Heidger, head of the software development unit for Tower and Special Systems at Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS).

Skysoft-ATM’s open source initiative reflects a growing demand for open source software solutions within the public sector. A study aiming to assess benefits that the open source model can bring to ATM is ongoing at EUROCONTROL, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation.

“We take a very positive view on the opportunities and benefits that an open source approach bring to both the ATM community and the industry,” said Jean-Marc Duflot of EUROCONTROL. “In this context, the Albatross initiative is warmly applauded as a landmark step providing means to all ATM stakeholders to access and contribute to the technologies, in Europe and beyond.”

While Skysoft-ATM will remain the key sponsor of the Albatross open source community project, it encourages and welcomes new contributors. All industry players are invited to join and contribute. The project is now live on the Albatross Community website.