Airport Collaborative Decision Making

Airport Collaborative Decision Making (ACDM)

With the growing demand of air traffic in the future and the recent enhancement to the Air Traffic Control en-route network ( Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum), airports and Air Traffic Control are under high pressure of having flights being on time to arrive and depart (MUNICH AIRPORT,2010 3). Airport Collaborative Decision Making (ACDM) is a system that designed by the EUROCONTROL and adopted by European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) Transport Ministers in the European Air Traffic Management Strategy to control the overall European airspace and airports (EUROCONTROL,2010 1)(MUNICH AIRPORT,2010 3). The headquarter of ACDM is based in Brussels. It is a concept that changes the system, hardware, human interactions with software, technology and the culture to understand the operational processes of each related parties (Air Traffic Control, Airport Operation, Pilots, Airlines, CFMU and ground Handling) (EUROCONTROL,2010 1). Thus enhance the airport efficiency by reducing delays, improving current airport facilities, maximize the capacity of landing allocations and slots as well as utilize the resources(EUROCONTROL,2010 2). The development of ACDM is based on the historical data that provided by the airport authorities from each airport, by sharing and exchanging information and process would enable the best air traffic performance being implemented at European airports. ACDM is also parallel with AFTM, which is an integration of the SMEAN and SESAR programs (EUROCONTROL,2010 1). With the implementation of ACDM, the European air traffic has been significantly improved over the years to generate benefits on both managerial and operational areas.

Movements of European air traffic in 24 hours

(Video embedded from YouTube on 3 October 2010)

diagram of ACDM

(Video embedded from YouTube on 3 October 2010)
ACDM (image embedded from EUROCONTROL on 3 October 2010)

Implementations (EUROCONTROL,2010 1):

The implementation of ACDM is an ongoing process at various stages in a number of airports in Europe.

The EUROCONTROL team would be able to provide assistance to those airports willing to implement ACDM in a number of ways. These include:

  • meetings regarding on facilities
  • Gap analysis survey of the airport
  • Assistance on setting up data analysis & programming with related managers and parties
  • Training at EUROCONTROL at Luxembourg or local airport
  • Helpdesk for remote assistance

Advantages to related parties ( EUROCONTROL (EUROCONTROL,2010 1):

Airport Operators:

  • Enable the existing gates and stands are being utilised effectively and efficient to enhance airport slots are fully being operated most of the time.
  • Generate more revenue from airlines and passengers due to the availability of flights increase at the airport.
  • Reduce time of airside mishandling and delays caused by uncertainties from airside operators.
  • Create better airport reputation to customers

Air Traffic Control:

  • Provide accurate information of runway capacity for controllers
  • Reduce stress and workloads of controllers
  • Reduce apron and taxiway congestion
  • More flexible for controllers to pre plan departure schedule and increase their situational awareness.

Pilots and Airlines:

  • Reduced fuel cost from unnecessary ground movements
  • Improve situational awareness especially during delays caused by uncertainties
  • Enhance fleet reliability of being on time for departure and arrival
  • Reduce delays and operational efficiency

Ground Handlers/ Ramp services:

  • Maximize the use of available resources to increase operational efficiency
  • Enhance better pre planning
  • Reduce lack of responsibility from ground operators to perform activities in a hurry.

CFMU and ATM relationship:

  • Provision of accurate estimated departure demand for future branch marking.
  • Improve flow of air traffic and maximize airport capacity
  • Reduce number of wasted slots


  • Reduce annoyed passengers from delays of flights.
  • Enhance services during disruption periods

It also provides a more environmental friendly aspect to airport and regions due to the decrease of fuel being burnt by aircrafts on taxiways and apron waiting to depart. The amounts of wasted water will decreased as aircrafts are being departed on time hence reduce the need of re-de icing aircrafts. On the other hand, reduction of aircrafts being held at holding points hence less noise pollution.

Munich Airport as an example of ACDM

Munich Airport is an example of ACDM being implemented into the airport operation in May 2004. The foucs of ACDM for Munich Airport was to improve the turn round process and the setting up of a pre departure srquence using the Target Off Block Time ( TOBT) procedure.
After a detailed gap analysis carried out by EUROCONTROL, the project has been started based on the existing procedure to improve the arrival and departure information and providing a pre departure sequence hence enhancing efficiency of ground operation and air traffic procedures (MUNICH AIRPORT,2010 3).

Future of ACDM (EUROCONTROL,2010 1):

The EUROCONTROL ACDM teams gather various airport operation procedures to develop the best practical manual and new concepts to accommodate different for different airports. Such project can be affected by landside events, connection of land transportations, security checks, check in system etc.

The following procedures will be improved and coordinated for the future.

  • Pre- departure procedures, rules and processes for aircraft start up and pushback for Departure manager.
  • Anti-icing procedures
  • Voice clearance delivery with ACDM requirements
  • Processes for alerts
  • ACDM processes for Departure Planning Information Messages (DPIs)
1. EUROCONTROL. (2010). Airport Collaborative Decision Making. Retrieved from EUROCONTROL on 3rd October 2010
2. EUROCONTROL. (2010). What is Airport CDM. Retrieved from EUROCONTROL on 3rd October 2010
3. MUNICH AIRPORT. (2010). Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) - a new concept. Retrieved from Munich Airport on 3rd October 2010

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