Ensuring that flights in and out of airports are carried out safely and efficiently is an extremely complicated business involving many different parties. For airport traffic to run smoothly, and with minimum fuel wastage, communication and collaboration between all partners is essential.

Issues such as delays at the runway and unnecessarily long taxi time can impact significantly on fuel burn and CO2 emissions. Lack of information sharing can also result in low levels of slot adherence, causing additional time in the air for aircraft as they await their turn to land.

To cut down on these sorts of inefficiencies, Eurocontrol, working together with airports in Europe, has developed the concept of airport collaborative decision-making (A-CDM). The process to becoming an A-CDM airport has been developed over time and follows a defined set of steps which bring together the different on-airport partners and instils information sharing protocols and channels between them. This means that all parties get all-important arrival and departure information at the same time and allows the different organisations involved in a flight to adjust their schedules and resourcing as the latest information comes to hand.

The benefits are visible at a network level, with more accurate take-off information feeding into the air traffic flow and capacity management system run by the Eurocontrol Network Manager. The network will be able to use the available capacity more efficiently. More effective use of slots results in reduced delays, improved predictability of events during a flight and optimised use of resources at airports. ACS 17 graphic

Munich Airport was the pioneer of A-CDM when it began its programme in 2007. Following the success in Munich, Eurocontrol and ACI Europe jointly launched a wider deployment programme, which has been gradually rolled out across Europe. There are now 35 airports in Europe at various stages of implementing A-CDM, with 16 airports fully-integrating the concept in their procedures. The network manager’s goal is to have a minimum of 42 A-CDM airports in Europe by 2019.

Europe’s A-CDM is being used as the baseline for ICAO A-CDM guidance material, bringing a global aspect to this concept.