What is Airport CDM?

The term Airport CDM stands for “Airport Collaborative Decision Making” and is a European procedure which improves the cooperation between all partners involved in aircraft handling services as well as Eurocontrol’s Network Management.

Using a comprehensive data and information exchange system, decision-making processes are to be designed to be more transparent and allow easier planning for all participants. This is intended to enable delays to be minimized and the infrastructure and staffing resources to be optimized.

The essential partners in this process are:

  • the airport operators
  • the air navigation service providers
  • the aircraft operators or airlines
  • the handling companies
  • the ground handling services
  • Eurocontrol’s Network Management

An ongoing data exchange of arrival and departure times between Airport CDM airports and Eurocontrol’s Network Management ensures that all departures are integrated to fit as closely as possible into the air traffic flow in Europe.

The Airport CDM procedure covers the period of three hours before EOBT (Estimated Off-Block Time) up to take-off. Hereby the whole turn-round process of an aircraft during this period is subdivided into various Milestones.


Benefits of the Airport CDM procedure

By applying the Airport CDM procedure there are direct benefits for all participants. Because of the positive effects on the European network, Airport CDM airports facilitate air traffic in Europe to be as efficient as possible.

Improved predictability of flight departure times

Through the transparency of the process at the respective airport and the constant data exchange with Eurocontrol’s Network Management the up-to-date target times for the departure of a flight are available to all participants at all times. In particular where there are capacity constraints in the European airspace optimised departure times (CTOT – Calculated Take-off Time) can be allocated in this way.

More efficient use of resources

Both for the demand-based utilisation of the airport infrastructure (e.g. parking positions, gates) and for an efficient use of staff for aircraft handling reliable and generally available information is essential. The Airport CDM procedure ensures the best possible planning basis for all participants through binding target times.

The best possible utilisation of available capacities

Particularly at peak times but also during bottlenecks in overloaded airspace the best possible utilisation of the available capacities is an important aim. With the aid of Airport CDM capacity limitations at the airport, e.g. from weather conditions, can be dealt with in the best possible way. This also applies in the winter months among other things also for carrying out aircraft de-icing. By continuously transmitting the planned departure times to the Network Management, Eurocontrol is put in a position to carry out demand-based traffic flow control for all airspace users.

Reduction of jet engine running times

The Airport CDM procedure introduces a timelier start-up of the engines for the departure of an aircraft. The aim is to reduce the waiting times of aircraft with their engines running at the runway. For this, individual forecast times e.g. for taxiing from the parking position to the runway are used. In future an aircraft will only receive approval to start the engines if it can take off without delay after starting the engines and taxiing to the runway.

Airport CDM in Stuttgart

In August 2010 the project was brought into being by a joint declaration of intent of the two project partners Flughafen Stuttgart GmbH and DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH. The objective consisted in the introduction of the Airport CDM procedure at Stuttgart Airport taking into account the European regulations and the experiences of the existing German Airport CDM projects.

Between November 2010 and September 2013 the joint project team of FSG and DFS developed a detailed description of the procedure including the technical requirements on existing systems and those to be newly set up. The IT systems and interfaces needed were delivered at the end of May 2014.

On 14 July 2014 a local trial operation of the Airport CDM procedures started in the first instance without data exchange with Eurocontrol’s Network Management. In the following weeks the comprehensive data transfer with Eurocontrol had been tested in several steps and, where necessary, technically adjusted. On 6 October 2014 the introductory phase of Airport CDM at Stuttgart Airport was completed. Thus Stuttgart belongs to the elite group of completely implemented Airport CDM airports in Europe.


Milestones and alerts

The Airport CDM process subdivides the period EOBT -3 hr into several milestones. For each of these milestones certain procedural steps are defined.

The central element of the Airport CDM procedure is sending warning messages / alerts to the aircraft operator or the person responsible for the TOBT when any process disruptions arise. These alerts are subdivided into three different categories and thus have a very different weighting:

red = The Airport CDM process is interrupted for this flight.

yellow = The Airport CDM process is not directly interrupted for this flight. At a later time this could however be the case. For this reason a reaction from the aircraft operator or the person responsible for the TOBT is expected.

green = The Airport CDM process is not endangered. However essential information for the aircraft operator or person responsible for TOBT is available. Ideally the situation should be clarified.

Overview Milestones