In May, SESAR 3 JU partners conducted tests at Landvetter Airport in Gothenburg, Sweden, on a solution to allow for more effective collaborative decision making (CDM) between airport stakeholders and more efficient airside operations. This low-cost solution for regional airports is expected to help increase the predictability of traffic across the European air traffic network.
Airports can be integrated into the air traffic management network by departure planning information (DPI) messages to the Network Manager (NM). On the one hand, large airports can implement airport collaborative decision making (A-CDM), which improves the information exchange with the network manager by sharing the status and time estimates of their outbound flights. On the other hand, smaller airports can implement the advanced ATC tower concept, allowing them to send a DPI message to the network manager operations centre (NMOC) when an aircraft leaves the blocks. Many regional airports are not ready to invest in the full A-CDM suite but are interested in sharing more than what is offered by the advanced ATC tower concept with the Network Manager Operations Centre.
The solution validated at Landvetter Airport aims at improving the efficiency of the turnaround process at regional airports by sharing information about key milestones associated with each flight. The milestones are generated in a quasi-automatic manner and offer a full set of departure planning information (DPI) messages to the Network Manager Operations Centre. By sharing accurate estimates of take-off times for flights is expected to bring network performance benefits as a result of enhanced traffic predictability and reduced need for sector capacity ‘buffers’. In doing so, the solution provides regional airports with an affordable means of meeting the Network Manager accuracy criteria.
The high level aims and challenges behind the operational concept for such regional network integrated airports are:
- To implement a reduced set of milestones to be monitored, concentrating on those which are ‘event driven’ rather than ‘time driven';
- To generate such milestones in a quasi‐automatic manner;
- To reduce ground handler workload in terms of inputs to the system so as to become the ‘exception’ rather than the ‘rule’;
- To offer the full set of DPI messages to the Network Manager and simultaneously respecting the quality criteria inherent in the full A‐CDM implementation.
The validation exercise was based on the A-CDM / airport operations plan (AOP) Indra solution, aiming at validating the capabilities of a Regional Network Integrated (RNI) tool module.
During the exercise, three working positions were used, each one with a configured interface according to its role, in order to enable tower controllers, ground handlers and airport operators to perform their own tasks.
The different stakeholders were supervising how the system was monitoring the operations and providing calculated target off-block times (TOBTs) and target take off times (TTOTs) based on the disruptions detected during the turnaround.
The participants were extremely positive concerning the utility of the flight information relating to both arrivals and departures that they were provided with and also that EUROCONTROL NM are now analysing the data quality contained in the different DPI messages compared to actual operations.
The validation was carried out together with EUROCONTROL, Swedavia, LFV and Menzies.
This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking within the framework of the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 874472, where Indra works with partners across Europe to research and develop solutions and technologies that will change the future of Air Traffic Management.