ACI EUROPE-SESAR WORKSHOP: The role of Airport Operations Centres in enhancing operational performance

Jul. 10, 2017

On 28 June, ACI EUROPE and the SESAR Joint Undertaking (JU) co-organised the first in a series of three workshops planned for 2017, which was dedicated to airport operations management and SESAR’s airport operations centre (APOC) solution. The workshop, which took place in ACI EUROPE’s premises in Brussels, included a visit to Brussels Airport’s APOC on 27 June where participants had the opportunity to see first-hand how the airport’s APOC works in real-time.
 
The event presented the SESAR’s work on airport operations management and it gave the opportunity to London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Lyon, Brussels, Aena Airports, Dusseldorf and Geneva to present their local APOC implementation initiatives. It also offered opportunities for participants to discuss how SESAR’s airport operations management concept and APOC can be adapted to serve the operational needs of regional or secondary airports.  
 
More than 50 people participated in the workshop, including representatives from the European Commission, the SESAR JU, EUROCONTROL, airports, airlines and ground handlers. The keynote speech was given by Maurizio Castelletti, Head of the Single European Sky Unit, DG MOVE, European Commission, who noted the importance of fully integrating airports into the network to maximise the overall performance.
 
Morgan Foulkes, ACI EUROPE Deputy Director, and Peter Hotham, SESAR JU Deputy Director, welcomed participants, highlighting the role and the global benefits of APOCs to achieving greater operational performance. 
 
In his presentation, Olivier Delain, SESAR 2020 Total Airport Management Project Coordinator from Groupe ADP, gave an overview of SESAR 1 and SESAR 2020 activities in the area of airport operations management and the platforms around Europe at which APOC has been tested. While SESAR 1 initially focused on major airports, SESAR 2020 will investigate how to adapt the airport operations management solutions to regional airports. SESAR 2020 sees a move towards solutions that support total airport management, several of which were presented by Ester Martín Dominguez, INECO, and Florian Piekert, DLR.
 
Alan Marsden, SESAR 2020 Total Airport Management Deputy Project Coordinator, EUROCONTROL, presented Eurocontrol’s work on APOC and its virtual airport 'gaming' platform, which was used by different aviation stakeholders to validate aspects of the solution. 
 
From the Network Manager’s perspective, Hans Koolen, Expert ATFCM and Airport CDM, EUROCONTROL, pointed out the overall benefits of integrating the airport in the air traffic management (ATM) network and the axial role of Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) to achieve stronger operational gains.

The workshop also featured presentations on APOC case studies implemented by airports of different sizes and characteristics. These concrete examples were presented by London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Lyon, Brussels, Aena, Dusseldorf and Geneva airports. They highlighted how these APOCs could address specific needs (like events triggered by important weather or technical crises), as well as improve overall operational performance.

 
The following key conclusions can be drawn from this workshop:

  • Most of the APOC implementations seem to start with landside aspects. The work in SESAR focuses on airside but integrating airside, landside and intermodality aspects are considered critical for performance.
  • Passenger satisfaction and quality of service are the main objectives of the APOC. 
  • APOCs will, ultimately, enable airports to move towards a pro-active operations management to anticipate disruptions.
  • APOCs are generating new roles and responsibilities within the airport such as the APOC Supervisor, whose role is consistent with that of a ground coordinator function.
  •  It is important to engage with all the key stakeholders from the beginning and demonstrate the benefits they can gain from their involvement in the APOC.
  • APOCs in operations have already proven their benefits, on a daily basis and in case of crisis.

 
To view all presentations, please click here.
 
 
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
 
The SESAR airport operations management concept aims to achieve not only more efficient local operations but a better integration of airports - regional and hub - into the air traffic management (ATM) network. The airport operations centre (APOC) is the nerve centre in this concept, allowing an unparalleled overview of operations and facilitating effective, fast decisions on how the airport can function most efficiently, especially under challenging circumstances. The APOC makes use of information from the airport operations plan (AOP), a single rolling plan agreed upon by all stakeholders, which is linked to the network operations plan (NOP).
 
Interested in knowing more about APOC and SESAR's drive towards total airport management? Check out this article by Florian Guillermet, Executive Director of the SESAR JU.

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