Eurocontrol pulls CDM summit

The cancellation of a key annual summit by the European champion of Collaborative Decision-Making (CDM) has been greeted with dismay by its supporters.
Eurocontrol is credited with both developing, trialling and proactively encouraging CDM across European airports, maturing the initiative significantly over recent years from a high level concept into a process that delivers operational benefits.
The news that Eurocontrol has cancelled the annual CDM Coordination Group meeting that was scheduled to be held between 16-17 November ‘due to budget and resource shortage’ with accompanying apologies for inconvenience has severely disappointed CDM stakeholders.
Eurocontrol tells that the cancellation was made as a major effort to reduce costs.
“As part of this, the work and meetings we are involved in are reassessed on an ongoing basis to confirm which should have the highest priority,” it said. “ Following this process it was concluded that priority should be given to both CDM implementation support and to the development of harmonised procedures.
“As CDM implementation now has a high degree of momentum these are now the high priority areas.”
To reconfirm that its support for CDM in these priority areas has not wavered Eurocontrol informed those fearing that its support for CDM was at an end: “The reality is that we will continue to give this high priority and the main effort is support to implementation. We have a team whose main task is to provide this support – with considerable success – and no changes are planned in this activity.
“It is clear that the implementation of CDM now has a high level of momentum which makes this type of support more essential than ever.”
Eurocontrol tells that indications are that the lead in agreeing the future implementation programme for CDM will now be with industry, with Eurocontrol providing support. “This is entirely in line with Eurocontrol and industry policy,” it said.
That has generated some criticism of European ANSPs that are viewed as having withdrawn vital support for Eurocontrol’s efforts in the field of CDM.
“The thinking that CDM can be coordinated by ANSPs whose European horizon is limited to their FAB and regionwide coordination is possible only via an added layer (the FABs) is total fallacy. Add to this that ANSPs typically get the smallest benefits from CDM, what motivation would they have to push CDM?” said one critic on an online CDM forum.
Another expressed his disaapointement and concern and considered it “very poor management by the responsible senior Euroconrol staff and organisation, given the positive track record of its CDM team and the important, constructive and open dialogues and sharing of best practices by CDM practitioners”.
One commentator with an “inside view” of Eurocontrol said: “Too many times Eurocontrol teams have had initiatives that were directly demanded by stakeholder representatives at the ´coal face´ – downgraded by the top management of the same stakeholders. Often on the grounds that this seemed to be something of a ´I think this is hobby from Eurocontrol´ or that ´this seems to have come from nowhere – I don’t know about it´ and hence they decided that it was not needed.”
Eurocontrol said an ad hoc procedures group meeting scheduled for October is still going ahead as its considers that with increasingly more airports implementing CDM, a high priority issue – shared by IATA on behalf of airlines – remains the development of standardisation and harmonisation of procedures.

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