ACDM concept of operations report published

A concept of operations document for collaborative decision making to enable airports and aircraft operators to better plan has been published by The Future Airspace Strategy Deployment Programme.

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The Concept of Operations for a Core Airport Collaborative Decision Making Solution

As a small country with a large demand for aviation that drives business, tourism and economic growth, the UK needs an effective air transport network.

The UK’s air transport network includes the structure of our airspace, the routes aircraft fly and the technology, processes and procedures used to manage the flow of traffic.

Optimising the flow of traffic around the network and into/out of airports relies on a broad mix of aviation stakeholders working collaboratively to balance the demand for runways, taxiways, stands and airspace with the available capacity.

The air transport network currently serves approximately 240m passengers a year and is struggling to keep pace as the demand for aviation continues to grow.

Flights in UK airspace are forecast to increase by more than 30 per cent in 2030. With this level of growth and no major improvements to the air transport network passenger delays are likely to increase significantly due to the lack of available capacity.

The concept of Airport Collaborative Decision Making (ACDM) to optimise traffic flows and improve airport throughput is a key part of the Future Airspace Strategy. The Single European Sky initiative that joins up programmes to improve the air transport network across European States also highlights that ACDM is a key enabler for future operations.

In today’s operation many decisions that are linked to when flights plan to arrive at airports, turnaround (reload, refuel etc.) and then depart are not based on an accurate set of information that can be accessed by all stakeholders.

Airport operators, airlines, air traffic controllers (ATC), the European Network Operations Centre (NMOC), ground handlers and passengers all use different information sets, managed by different systems, and updated at different times.

In the absence of accurate flight information most decisions are based on either the airlines’ published schedules that are developed months prior to the day of operation, or their flight plans, submitted around three hours prior to departure.

Both sources of information are not regularly updated or shared to reflect the dynamic nature of the operation. The gaps in information, and the time and effort needed to close them, create inefficiencies across airports and wider air transport network, generating delays and weakening the resilience of the network to unplanned events.

More than 30 airports across Europe are at various stages of implementing ACDM. However, the full scope of ACDM solutions, their benefits and the approach to implementation is unclear to many airport stakeholders.

ACDM involves the introduction of new systems and processes to enable the creation, refinement and exchange of information about:

the progress of each flight’s turnaround activities

Up to date off blocks times for each flight

The optimal sequence of departures to maximise runway performance.

ACDM solutions also gather the latest estimated landing times for inbound flights to improve the management of available stands and help ground handlers to decide how best to focus their resources, and that generates benefits for a broad range of stakeholder groups, especially passengers, airlines and air traffic controllers.

You can download the Concept of Operations document here.