Created by Airbus with the mission to deliver improved ATM performance worldwide, the Airbus ProSky integrates knowledge and expertise from Metron Aviation, Quovadis and ATRiCS. The company believes that many places in the world would benefit from Airport Collaborative Decision Making.
Not technically challenging, Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) is mainly a human project federating all stakeholders supported by an interoperable, evolutionary and scalable technical solution. As part of the EUROCONTROL A-CDM certified system at Frankfurt Airport, the pre-departure sequencer provided by Airbus ProSky partner ATRiCS has demonstrated operational benefits including better tactical planning and improved recovery after adverse conditions. Additionally, adherence to slot departure times at Frankfurt Airport has improved by 95%. Airbus ProSky partner Metron Aviation, meanwhile, has provided airline and airport efficiency solutions comparable to A-CDM for Delta Air Lines and LaGuardia Airport, and for FedEx and Memphis Airport.
Airports are the nodes of the air transport system and, as such, face the highest traffic density of the entire network. The runway, taxiway and apron areas of high-traffic airports worldwide are regarded as the main bottlenecks in the air traffic management (ATM) system. If an airport is saturated, it impacts the entire ATM system, delaying inbound and outbound flights. Flights will have to wait on the ground, blocking airport resources, or fly holding patterns in the air, thereby increasing fuel burn and emissions. In order to safely and efficiently accommodate the predicted increase in air traffic levels over the next few years, ATM system planners need new ways of handling more aircraft, more movements per hour on the runway and more efficient airport apron operations.
A-CDM aims to improve the overall efficiency, predictability and punctuality of airport operations. It helps reduce buffer times for resource planning and flight times, enhancing predictability by improving the quality of information on which decisions are made. Knowing schedules and constraints in regard to the actual and predicted situation, A-CDM allows an airport partner to make the right decisions in collaboration with other airport partners (the airport operator, aircraft operators, ground handlers, air navigation service provider, flow management unit and support services). The decision-making process is enhanced by the sharing of up-to-date, relevant information and by taking into account the preferences, resources and requirements of all airport stakeholders.
All stakeholders benefit from A-CDM implementation, while there is also a positive effect on the network capacity. Airlines gaining flexibility in their operations and being able to schedule more flights can reduce costs and do more business. A reduction in flight and holding times, fewer delays and cancellations, and better allocation of manpower resulting from alignment of services also reduce operating costs, penalties and fuel consumption. This enables airlines to focus more on business improvement and service levels.
The enhanced predictability due to A-CDM is especially useful in adverse conditions, where the best use of the reduced but available capacity is essential and where the recovery time to normal operations needs to be optimised.
Airport decongestion allows ATCs to pass more traffic, resulting in revenue gains. Airport revenues come primarily from servicing incoming and outgoing flights: additional flights being processed in adverse conditions means additional income for airports.
At the seventh Annual ACI Airport Exchange event, held in November 2012 in the Netherlands, an announcement was made on the benefits to airlines and passengers of A-CDM achieved to date in Europe: