Airports call for swift reform of ATC, better airspace and ground infrastructure integration

European airports should strike contractual deals with their ATC provider to boost information-sharing backed by agreed performance goals, according to industry group ACI EUROPE.

At the 12th ACI Airport Exchange event taking place this week in Oslo, the capacity challenge facing European air transport came into the spotlight once again.

Echoing Eurocontrol’s 2018 Challenges of Growth report and taking stock of the disruptions experienced by air travellers over the summer months, the airport industry urged long overdue ATM reform.

Releasing a new position on European airspace, ACI EUROPE stressed how ATM disruptions and inefficiencies affect airport operations all the way into terminal buildings. “These ATM disruptions and inefficiencies end up deteriorating the passenger’s airport experience and lead to reduced revenues and additional costs for airports. They also affect surrounding communities whenever delayed flights depart/land in breach of night operating restrictions,” it said.

Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI EUROPE said: “Beyond passengers and airlines, airports are also impacted by ATM disruptions and the inability of airspace to keep up with air traffic growth. The promises of the EU’s Single European Sky project have failed to materialise. It is high time for a reset. We need to see meaningful reform.”

ACI EUROPE said its vision and proposals are focused on a better integration of airspace and ground infrastructure. Despite some progress over the past 10 years, through the deployment of operational processes such as A-CDM and new technology, as well as the institution of the Network Manager, airports and ANSPs (Air Navigation Service Providers) still operate too much in silos.

Jankovec said “Operations at and around airports need to become more co-ordinated and consolidated and they should be based on open and shared data sets and improved coordination between all involved: airports, airlines, ANSPs and the Network Manager. This is the only way to really place the passenger at the core of operational processes.”

ACI EUROPE’s proposals thus include:

  • Establishing a contractual relationship between airports and ATC providers enabling information-sharing and joint processes – including agreed performance goals.
  • Successful consolidation of the Airport Operations Plans/Ground Coordinator (AOP/APOC) and the Network Operations plan (NOP).
  • Concerted and accelerated technology investment planning by the Network Manager so as to allow more timely deployment of SESAR solutions/concepts.
  • Stronger engagement of all actors with SESAR.
  • As technology & digitalisation will continue to drive efficiencies for all actors in European aviation, ACI EUROPE and its members have been actively supporting SESAR innovation and its deployment.

ACI EUROPE also released SESAR and the Digital Transformation of Europe’s Airports, showcasing the SESAR solutions available to airports, this publication aims at further engaging the airport community in proven technological solutions for more efficient and sustainable airport operations.

Download ACI EUROPE’s new Position Paper on Airspace

Download SESAR and the Digital Transformation of Europe’s Airports