‘Continuous Descent Operation’ now used at over 80 airports

Posted: 2 May 2012 | EUROCONTROL | No comments yet

Environmental restrictions are in place at most European airports…


Environmental restrictions are in place at most European airports. A response to environmental challenges is the implementation of the Continuous Descent Operation (CDO) technique.

It is likely that the number of airport restrictions will continue to grow, with a potentially negative impact on optimum network performance.

Luckily, there is a solution: Continuous Descent Operation – CDO – which helps substantially in minimising aircraft operations’ environmental impact.

CDO offers a flexible continuous descent and approach flight path that delivers major environmental and economic benefits without any adverse affect on safety.

The rapid deployment of CDO throughout Europe, even on a limited basis (that is, limited by hours of operation and commencement height), will empower the network to respond positively to environmental challenges.

The initial target of this collaborative effort was to see CDO adopted by at least 100 ECAC airports by December 2013. However, the momentum has been such that this target has been revised upwards to at least 200 airports by end 2014.

The implementation of CDO is producing tangible results and April 2012 saw over 80 European airports offering some form of CDO for some or all of their daily operations.

The Network Operations Plan 2012-2014 foresees the evolution of CDO in that its use will become more widespread, used for longer (in hours of operation) and from higher levels (the ultimate aim being from Top of Descent).

This will be achieved by changes to the airspace architecture and the widespread availability of harmonised support tools for controllers, which will ensure lateral and/or vertical segregation without impeding the optimum profile.

The EUROCONTROL CDO implementation team is working with stakeholders (ANSPs, aircraft manufacturers and aviation industry associations such as IATA, ERA, ACI and CANSO) to maximize those benefits which are achievable in the current ATM framework. They also support the facilitation of more advanced CDO that will result from the deployment of future ATM tools and procedures.

Interactive CDA Map

An Interactive CDA Map allows you to visualize the airports’ implementation status. It is accessible via the EUROCONTROL extranet, OneSky Online. To view the map, you need to be registered. Click here to access OneSky Online.

Once registered, forward your details to the CDA email address to be added to the list of recognised users of the map.

For more information you can contact Paul Adamson, Head of Airports Unit, DNM.

Note: the ICAO expression CDO now replaces Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) as the term of reference

Related links

European Joint Industry CDA Action Plan >>

Download the guide to implementing Continuous Descent >>

Related organisations

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