Efficiency efforts by airports yielding significant results for airlines & passengers

Posted: 28 November 2012 | Joint from ACI EUROPE and EUROCONTROL | No comments yet

As the entire aviation sector is facing patchy air traffic growth in the short term…

Airports Council International (ACI) logo

As the entire aviation sector is facing patchy air traffic growth in the short term, significant financing challenges and a growing focus on emissions, the themes of efficiency and performance have become key for Europe’s airports.

In 2008, European airport trade body ACI EUROPE and EUROCONTROL the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, launched a collaboration to increase operational efficiencies at European airports.

At this year’s 7th Annual ACI AIRPORT EXCHANGE event¹, hosted by Amsterdam Airport Schiphol an announcement was made on the benefits achieved to date.

Airport Collaborative Decision-Making (A-CDM)

A-CDM allows for real time sharing of operational data and information between the stakeholders using an airport, thus creating “common situational awareness”, which in turn helps optimise interactions between airport operators, air traffic control, airlines on the ground and the recently established EU Network Manager. This results in improved use of available airport capacity. A-CDM is also essential to the work of SESAR².

Airports where A-CDM is already fully implemented include Munich Airport, Brussels Airport, Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt Airport. Helsinki-Vantaa airport is expected to be the next in December this year. These airports collectively welcome over 150 million passengers a year and their experience has recorded significant benefits for airlines and passengers.

Benefits to Airlines & Passengers:

  • Better punctuality: average 3 minute reduction in aircraft taxi-ing time
  • Reduced emissions: more than 120,000 tonnes of CO2 reduced yearly
  • Fuel savings: EUR20.8 million in fuel savings for airlines (yearly)

A further 25 airports are currently in the process of implementing A-CDM either locally or fully.

Continuous Descent Operations (CDO)

CDO is an air traffic control operation in which an aircraft descends directly to land, rather than in gradual stepped descent through a series of altitudes. This reduces fuel burn when aircraft come in to land, lowering carbon emissions. In many cases, noise exposure is also reduced, as the aircraft begins its descent closer to the airport.

Since the launch of the ACI EUROPE & EUROCONTROL CDO Action Plan in 2009, the operation has become standard practise at 87 European airports and this number is expected to rise to 100 in the coming months.

Benefits to Airlines & Passengers:

  • More comfortable descent, less local noise in many cases
  • Reduced emissions: more than 35,700 tonnes of CO2 reduced
  • Fuel savings: over €6 million in fuel savings for airlines

David McMillan, Director General of EUROCONTROL said “Working together with our partners, our aim is to find win-wins for the airports, the airlines and the travelling public. Both A-CDM and CDO deliver reduced emissions and fuel savings. And by strengthening the linkages between the airports and the network specifically the Network Manager, A-CDM also helps to improve punctuality – making a real contribution to achieving the performance objectives.”

Olivier Jankovec, Director General ACI EUROPE commented “Both A-CDM and CDO reflect the European airport industry’s business motivation and strong focus on performance. By working in partnership, we are becoming more efficient and competitive, lowering our airline partners’ cost base, making the passenger experience more punctual, getting the most out of our assets and becoming a better neighbour as well.”


1. AIRPORT EXCHANGE presented jointly by ACI EUROPE and ACI ASIA-PACIFIC is the biggest annual airport industry event, grouping 4 simultaneous conferences, addressing the many facets and challenges of the airport business. This year’s event is hosted by Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and has attracted over 750 delegates, 75 exhibitors and more than 800 exhibition visitors, from more than 40 countries.

Visit or follow on Twitter using the hashtag #AirportX.

You can also view video highlights by SchipholTV

2. The SESAR JU is a €2.1 billion Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research programme launched by EUROCONTROL, the European Union and industry. SESAR is developing more advanced collaborative decision making which will incorporate and share information such as passenger flows and baggage information, contributing to an enhanced global picture and a better aviation system for all users and citizens. Visit

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