In the course of one month, the ECAC zone could add 3 more Airport Collaborative Decision Making airports to its list of 12 in 2014. Latest to join was London Gatwick Airport on November 7th, and early October we welcomed Milano Malpensa Airport as Italy's second, and Stuttgart Airport as Germany's 5th addition already. Benefiting from lessons learned and thanks to German A-CDM procedure harmonization, Stuttgart pulled its project off in just over one year. It looks like we are eventually picking up the required implementation pace. Can we do better? Definitely; many airports do have an A-CDM project in the pipeline, and many others should have, by now..
From the Benches to the Trenches
All too many skeptics have been pointing fingers to Eurocontrol for this unconvincing implementation rate, but let's be realistic here: one cannot expect the organisation to steer 10 or 15 projects simultaneously and guide every individual airport through the concept elements, preventing them from sitting back and relaxing until the next discussion round.
But more and more fingers are pointing in the direction of trade organisations and industry bodies like IATA, CANSO, ACI, ... who excel in circumlocutory statements and press releases on collaborative decision making, but still haven't rolled up their sleeves and stepped into the field to actually listen to the concerns of A-CDM stakeholders. Well, at least I have been around for 4 years in the Brussels Airport A-CDM program, and yes, as an A-CDM advocate, I have expressed the concerns of the community on quite a few public speaking occasions, but I don't remember any of the aforementioned bodies stepping in or offering advice afterwards.
I'm asking myself if they are aware of their mitigating role in ongoing discussions and misunderstandings about the very core of the collaboration concept of A-CDM that are still haunting us after all those years
To my pleasant surprise, a pertinent question was asked by someone from IATA in the 'A-CDM at airports' group on LinkedIn: "What can Eurocontrol, IATA, ACI, ... do better to optimize implementation and delivery of benefits?". So, it ís realised that there are 'some issues' with having the A-CDM concept adopted by the aviation industry... and I consider this to be a modest breakthrough. So I engaged with a counter question: 'the one who only does what he has been doing will only get what he has always gotten, so what about some thinking outside the box and reaching out to the practitioners out there?'
My question was left unanswered, but for starters, I was happy to be able to take the conversation off line and elaborate on the chasm between boardroom A-CDM and the actual thing; issues which I will not withhold you, but which deserve a separate -and upcoming- blog post.
and Change Ahead?
Some weeks ago, I was invited by DLR to assist in a debate at the Airport IT 2014 conference on the importance of joint airport stakeholder decision making in future concepts such as Total Airport Management, for which A-CDM is a prerequisite (so this was me, arguing that A-CDM is approached too system-centric, in front of a fine selection of airport IT providers...).
Lots of buzz on 'collaboration' during the coffee breaks, and the word -again to my pleasant surprise- trickled down into many a slick airport tech-and-tool presentation. Yes, the success of an A-CDM project is measured by the transparency of its cross-stakeholder procedures rather than the performance of its tools.
Now, let us step up in the pursuit of the customer intimacy factor in project implementation and reach out to the practitioners to not only provide a system and bail out, but to make it actually happen and install a culture of sustained stakeholder engagement on those A-CDM airports to-be
... because an ounce of experience is worth a ton of theory.
What's your take on this issue? Besides a healthy dose of experience, what more is needed to gain momentum for A-CDM implementation? And how do we approach the powerhouses of the industry to get them rolling up their sleeves.
Look out for upcoming posts on A-CDM implementation and challenges. Meanwhile, I invite you to enjoy the extraordinary pictures from Vitor Azevedo. Vitor is on the push back team of Swissport at Brussels Airport, but might as well be a professional photographer. Have a look at www.brusselstarmac.be