Eurocontrol has tested its airport collaborative decision-making (A-CDM) concept at Alicante Airport in Spain.

A-CDM seeks to enhance the overall efficiency of airport operations by optimising the use of resources and improving the predictability of events. The concept focuses mainly on aircraft turn-round and pre-departure sequencing processes.

The system is part of a Eurocontrol project aiming to develop a low-cost, low-workload, simplified approach to turnaround monitoring for regional airports.

In a statement, Eurocontrol said: “We decided that Alicante Airport in Spain would be the place to explore the feasibility of this approach. We wanted to know whether the aircraft monitoring process could be automated in an attempt to significantly reduce the ground handlers’ workload.”

“The platform was connected to the local Alicante Airport operations database in order to record aircraft status, including boarding.”

The testing took place over one week with all Alicante Airport operations participating, including the airport operator, the air navigation service provider FerroNATS and all ground handling services. Feedback on the concept was positive.

One of the main parameters in A-CDM is the target off block time (TOBT). To ensure an accurate TOBT, it is necessary to monitor the key events associated with a given flight.

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During the trial, the A-CDM was configured to provide a full set of departure planning information messages based on automatically generated TOBT estimates from flight information and the boarding process.

The platform was connected to the local Alicante Airport operations database in order to record aircraft status, including boarding.

According to Eurocontrol, air traffic controllers monitored departures as derived from the TOBT estimates.

Eurocontrol said that the trial was part of the ‘Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research 2020 Program’.