Airports and air traffic management working with other aviation partners to make European air transport better

Posted: 15 November 2013 | Eurocontrol | No comments yet

The themes of efficiency and performance have become a key focus for Europe’s airports…


Faced with patchy air traffic growth in the short term and significant financing challenges for the entire aviation sector, the themes of efficiency and performance have become a key focus for Europe’s airports and air traffic managers.For them, as well as for the airline community, the EU’s Single European Sky is a higher priority than ever before – and these industry partners are working together to move things forward, with a particular focus on airport-related activities.

In 2008, European airport trade body ACI EUROPE and (intergovernmental agency) EUROCONTROL launched a collaboration to increase operational efficiencies at European airports. This was also complimented by similar agreements between ACI EUROPE and airline trade body, IATA and CANSO, the global trade body for Air Traffic Management. At this year’s 8th Annual ACI AIRPORT EXCHANGE conference & exhibition² which took place in Doha earlier this week with the theme “Airports beyond 2020”, an update was released on the progress achieved to date.

Over the past 6 years, airports, national air traffic managers and airlines have been implementing a process called Airport-Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM).

A-CDM is a tool that allows for real time sharing of operational data and information between the stakeholders using an airport, thus creating “common situational awareness”. This in turn improves interaction between airport operators, air traffic control and airlines on the ground, allowing for a more optimised use of scarce airport capacity. A-CDM is also an important baseline for the deployment of SESAR¹.

Airports where A-CDM has been fully implemented now include Munich, Brussels, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt, London-Heathrow, Helsinki-Vantaa and most recently, Düsseldorf and Switzerland’s primary hub, Zurich. A-CDM deployment is being facilitated by the Network Manager, with a target of 20 major airports by the end of 2014. Collectively, these airports welcome over 250 million passengers a year and their efforts have yielded significant benefits for airlines and passengers.

Benefits to Airlines & Passengers:

  • Better punctuality: average 3 minute reduction in aircraft taxi-ing time
  • Fuel savings: EUR20.8 million in fuel savings for airlines

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

Frank Brenner, Director General of EUROCONTROL said “A-CDM is really all about improvements in performance through cultural change and proactive partnership. It emphasises the network nature of ATM where an apparently local decision can have implications across Europe. Linking the airports to the network through A-CDM has a positive effect both in terms of capacity and predictability – with benefits for each player involved. This linkage can be done by the Network Manager and is one of the major benefits that this function will bring to European ATM as a whole.”

Olivier Jankovec, Director General ACI EUROPE commented “These initiatives reflect the European airport industry’s strong focus on performance and quality. By working in partnership with air traffic management and airlines, we are able to lower our airline partners’ operating cost base, make the passenger experience more punctual and reduce our environmental impact. This is win-win, as it also allows us to boost our competitive position and get the most out of our assets.”

Further roll-out of these programmes will continue with ACI EUROPE, EUROCONTROL and CANSO all actively encouraging new participants, through promotion of the benefits gained by current participants.

  1. 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
  2. ACI AIRPORT EXCHANGE presented jointly by ACI EUROPE and ACI ASIA-PACIFIC is the biggest annual airport industry event, grouping 5 simultaneous conferences, addressing the many facets and challenges of the airport business. This year’s event was hosted by Doha International Airport and attracted over 800 delegates from more than 40 countries. Next year’s ACI AIRPORT EXCHANGE will be hosted by Aéroports de Paris.
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