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At Convolus, we look to technology to improve and streamline different aspects of Business Aviation. Our own approach is data-centric and software-empowered. We also look closely at all technology-led developments in Business Aviation that will impact positively the industry.
Once initiative, driven by Eurocontrol, is A-CDM.
The number of passengers and aircraft movements in European airports has been steadily on the rise in the last few years. With this increase, the number of available slots has naturally diminished, which in turn increased the need to optimise the existing resources. That is where the Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) comes into existence. The Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) consortium recognised effective slot management as a vital part of the process of reaching the objective Single European Sky. By having all parties involved in the handling and processing of an aircraft share information in real-time, the existing slots could be managed more efficiently.
Total relative savings across 17 CDM Airports when compared to pre A-CDM performance
So how exactly does the A-CDM work?
The basic idea of A-CDM is that up-to-date information is always available to the relevant stakeholder, be it the ground handler, local ATC or the aircraft operator itself. Instead of managing ever changing and unexpected new information, the involved parties have relative accurate predictions at hand. As soon as an aircraft has a flight plan filled and approved, the time from off-blocks to takeoff is calculated taking into consideration expected traffic and other real-time local factors. With this information, both the ground handler and the crew of the aircraft know when the aircraft should be ready to leave its parking stand and when they should request push-back. If that deadline passes, the now unused airport capacity can potentially be used by another aircraft that might be ready to leave. For the aircraft that missed its time window, immediately a new expected departure time is calculated based on the next free timeframe.
A cornerstone of this system is real-time data connections and information exchange between the involved. With airports collecting more and more data on historical trends, aircrafts and the general usage of its resources, predictions get better over time. For the bulk of business aviation operations, predictions have always been difficult to make due to very nature of the business itself. Independence and ability to control a flight departure are some of the main benefits of flying private that can hardly be taken away from the passenger.
It is here that the importance of sharing information becomes even more apparent. With A-CDM, in case the expected departure deviates from the originally planned, expectations can be better managed and communicated immediately. One example is Ibiza Airport, where especially during the summer season the amount of departures increases significantly and delays or slot denials follow. In the past, requests for slots could be made in advance and possibly without having the flight yet fully confirmed. Later, the request would be changed according to real needs. Predictably, the practice increased and turned unmanageable for the airport stakeholders. To stop this practice, the airport centralized the authority for slot requests and is implementing advanced ATC management in phases. The first phase is the introduction of Advanced Tower procedures, where the data and information exchange is limited to the local ATC and Eurocontrol. The objective of having a fair and effective distribution of slots will then by finalized once the more complete and far-reaching A-CDM system has been implemented.
A-CDM and the respective pre-stages are big steps forward to improve management of ATC systems in Europe. Similar systems, where big data and aviation come together, are bound to better other aspects of the industry and will also disrupt business aviation. Using the data available will be a key to business success, in every niche of aviation.
With experience in CRM and the FBO business, Fabio likes to write about all things tech and future of Business Aviation. At Convolus, he looks out for the latest news and buzz of the industry.