A-CDM Affairs: Avoiding Loss of Attention Span 2

A-CDM Affairs This is part 2 of my non-exhaustive debrief of Eurocontrol's A-CDM workshop, held in September 2015. In part 1, A-CDM Affairs: Avoiding Loss of Attention Span 1, among other things: patience getting rewarded ultimately, the green dots on the implementation status chart, the introduction of A-CDM in the ICAO world, and the long awaited benefits study.

Nordic Harmonization

Eurocontrol dedicated a large part of their September event to Airport CDM experiences on The Old Continent and, yes, across the globe, which I highly acclaim. There were airport operators, air navigation service providers, airlines and the FAA.... Surely, there must have been a sound reason why there was no ground handlers in the room to present their take on A-CDM.oslo airport logo

Anyway, on to Gro Jaere from Oslo Gardermoen Airport, who explained to us how A-CDM, and the inherent culture change from ‘first come, first served’ to ‘best planned, best served’, got implemented at her airport, under the auspices of Avinor. Interesting to see that the Norwegians are considering the installation of a ‘Nordic A-CDM Forum’, by analogy with the ‘A-CDM Germany’ initiative. Although challenging, as I explained in the first paragraphs of part 1 of this 2-part post, it shows the ‘organic’ drive to harmonize procedures, share best practices and technology to smooth out the path for future implementation. And it becomes really interesting when the ‘Nordic A-CDM Forum’ would evolve into something cross-border, involving the Swedish, Finnish and Danish (‘to-be’) A-CDM airports.


Cockpit Experience

'The cockpit is the weakest link in Collaborative Decision Making’ was once a lofty phrase uttered on a regular basis by BRU’s first A-CDM project manager, especially back in those days when flight deck crews were kind of… persistent in misunderstanding what the concept and its fairly basic cockpit procedures were all about.

But time, progressive insight and A-CDM advocates like Francisco Hoyas, Senior First Officer at Iberia, made our lives a lot easier on that point. Fran’s approach was to project a flight crew’s transit through an airport on the A-CDM Milestones. It was a great way to see how those two processes line up with each other, and how increased operational predictability, that comes with timely sharing Milestone data, makes for optimized -and safe- turnarounds. Francisco highlighted that airport-specific interpretations of standard A-CDM operating procedures should get to the cockpit more easily, and I couldn't agree more. Only, the question is: what is the most efficient way to do this? Options are limited here for an airport operator, and ever since project implementation in BRU 5 years ago, the number of airlines that got in touch with us to learn the local 'tweaks' and include them in their station briefing sheet is limited to... one.

In his presentation, Francisco also asks us to consider the cockpit crew 'as an airframe', but I think we're entitled to some further clarification on a next occasion ;-)

A-CDM and the Cockpit

Middle East A-CDM Implementation

Although capacity strains at Dubai Airport create a perfect proof-of-concept environment for operational optimization initiatives, it must not be a gift to implement mid term projects in this vast, almost exponentially expanding place, as Velis Eleftheriou, Dubai's A-CDM Implementation Manager, admits over drinks at the network reception. One would expect sophistication and a heaps of bells and whistles to support their decision making, but, as Velis explained in his presentation, DXB manages well with a 100% in-house developed, straightforward common SA tool, which even sports a 'sandbox environment' (no pun intended) where the impact of capacity shortfalls can be assessed, in order to pick the most appropriate recovery scenario. Velis once stood at the drawing board of the Airport CDM concept and knows all too well that procedures prevail against systems; information overload only clutters the view on why we are doing all those efforts for.

Noteworthy: Dubai is now focusing on the pre-departure sequencing algorithm, soon followed by the generation of 'DPI-style' messages, which could eventually be shared with the Network Manager, like regular European A-CDM airports do.

Dubai's first airport, 1971

Dubai's first airport, 1971 (Image: Yahoo Finance Canada) 

Meanwhile Down Under: Faster, Higher, Stronger

Flying halfway across the globe to meet the people who stood at the cradle of Airport CDM, getting acquainted with our perhaps old-skool approach of multi-partner airport projects and presenting the way A-CDM things are taken care of in New-Zealand; Mark Croudace, Passenger & Terminal Operations Manager at Auckland Airport, surely was a man on a mission. Moreover, I had the honour to host Mark at Brussels Airport the day before the event and explain to him all about the early days, and exchange thoughts on how A-CDM can cater for the operational issues at his 'peaky airport'. Auckland Airport logo

Auckland Airport embarked on a 2-year implementation journey, using the Eurocontrol Implementation Manual guidelines as a project template and simultaneously deploying an end-to-end solution, which comes with a transparent and remarkably graphical interface to share airside and landside Milestones amongst the operational partners. A remarkable feat, which makes AKL number one in the southern hemisphere to implement A-CDM. But hey, no worries: listening to Mark explaining, all this was associated with less fuss and not so much of the 'Yes, but' syndrome with which we have to deal in Europe, time and again.

But judge for yourself. Witnessing the enthusiasm of the people that feature in the below video -there's even a ground handler in it!- and that distinct 'let's do this' feel throughout the footage, New Zealand looks like the land of milk and (manuka) honey for making concepts like Airport CDM happen.

Will U.S. Align?

Bob Varcadipane from the Airport Surface Efficiency Group (FAA) presented us a rather high-level overview of the FAA's interpretation of Collaborative Decision Making, which appears to be 'sharing data to create a common view of the air traffic management system from which to base decisions', giving the impression that the concept remains ATC centric at this stage.


Agreed. What's happening on the ground at U.S airports on the stakeholder collaboration subject gets described as Surface CDM (S-CDM), but the focus lies almost exclusively on surface metering, whereby a “virtual departure queue” is created in which departures are “metered” by holding flights either at the gate or in a common metering area. Pretty much like a DMAN  generated pre-departure sequence, but the scope of Airport-CDM goes way beyond, and at no point the comprehensive Milestone approach and its key predictability enablers TOBT and TSAT transpire in the operational concept of S-CDM. It could take some time before we will talk the same talk here...

And a Few More Things..

We all know that after a certain time, we tend to only remember the good things and forget about the bad. Yet, coming to think of it, there was much more interesting stuff going on during those 2 days at Eurocontrol that deserve to be mentioned. The focus on procedures and communication in the A-CDM project of Singapore Changi Airport for instance, and, in the absence of an air traffic management network dimension, their aim to exchange the key milestones in densely-operated city pairs via a 'multi-nodal' network. Or ACI's briefing session, pinpointing opportunities for mid-size airports to file for EC grants out of the Cohesion Fund, and the Airport CDM concept as a prerequisite for impending performance-based airport operations (I again invite you to consult all presentations here).

A-CDM update


I'm absolutely the last person to pretend to be all-knowing on the subject, so I must say I had some expectations beforehand. To learn a couple of operational procedure tweaks in this dynamic environment for instance, or to uncover new insights, or an unthought-of approach on the smouldering issue of procedure harmonization, for instance; still one of the 'elephants in the room' of our community.

The A-CDM Information Exchange was unmistakably a superb networking event. Yet, regardless of the fact how inspiring the speakers were, the scope of many presentations did not go beyond highlighting the viability of an operational optimization concept of which both local and network benefits have been obvious for quite some time. We are way past the proof-of-concept phase now, and this approach involuntarily keeps the forum open for outmoded and unfair criticism, as it was again transpiring in the IATA presentation.

So, let's not lose the span of attention on A-CDM. Full steam ahead now, and let's 'get stuff done' in the interest of both those struggling to get on board ánd early adopters on a next occasion, for which I'm sure we'll not have to be patient for another 2 years.

I want to conclude on a genuinely positive note, with part of Current Operations Manager Slavi Stoyanov's inspiring, off-key presentation on NMOC's expectations of the Airport CDM program, in which he got support from Andrew Baulcomb to visualise how to evacuate at least one elephant out of the Collaborative Decision Making room...

A-CDM funnies

Andy Baulcomb is Senior Network Coordinator in the Network Manager Ops Room, but appears to be a fine graphics artist as well, 'targeting a poor unsuspecting individual from time to time'. (Moreover, he finds himself answering requests for caricature cartoons from colleagues, so I wouldn't hesitate any longer).

As said, I only covered part of the deal here, so, for those who were it the same room,  I'm looking forward to your comments on what I definitely forgot to write about. To those who were unfortunate enough to miss the event: which hot A-CDM potatoes would you like to see addressed on a next occasion?

Related Resources Collaborative Decision Making presentation, Air Traffic Flow Managment and Surface CDM, Peru, August 2015

Images are by Vitor Azevedo unless otherwise mentioned

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A-CDM Affairs: Avoiding Loss of Attention Span 1

Airport Collaborative Decision Making

Good Things* Come to Those Who Wait

Thanks for checking in on the continuation of my Airport Collaborative Decision Making series on New Airport Insider. Due to business opportunities in the rapidly expanding A-CDM world, I admit I've been rather quiet on this subject… But good to be back, and present you with my take on the most recent state of play on A-CDM, as presented at Eurocontrol on September 22nd-23, 2015. This is part 1 of 2, with part 2 to be published in 2 weeks.

Wait, let’s rule out a potential misunderstanding here; I’m not pretending that you would be patiently waiting for a next post on A-CDM, but I was only alluding on the fact that I was forced to go way back into time to check when the last time was that the A-CDM airport community had the chance to team up to discuss and (dis-)agree on what’s close to our hearts.

Looking Back, We've Come a Long Way…

I do remember the last Procedures Group meeting, hosted by Brussels Airport and wrapped up with a sky high dinner in the top sphere of one of the most remarkable buildings in the European capital. That was 2010… back at the time that Brussels and Munich were the only airports that could declare themselves A-CDM, but admired by an eager bunch of fellow airports looking to implement this exciting new airport efficiency project soon, very soon…

ACDM implementation status 2010

A-CDM implementation status in Q4, 2010 (source: Brussels Airport information session presentation)

Next came a series of 5 meetings in the Harmonization Task Force sequence at Eurocontrol. Back in 2012 and 2013 that was, when 5 years after Munich and 3 after Brussels, still only 8 of us were A-CDM certified. Many questions could be asked as to why, but non-harmonized procedures were considered as the main culprit. Although no less than 19 issues were mitigated (after some fierce debating), resulting in as much recommendations for the Implementation Manual, the A-CDM community realized that procedure harmonization ends where the objectives of airports to implement A-CDM start to fork. The Eurocontrol task force was wrapped up and left quite a few of us with an uneasy feeling about the future of A-CDM. Nevertheless, new airports maintained their focus and kept coming ‘on line’ in the next months, and even the pace picked up. Time to convince Eurocontrol to call us all back together.

Where Are the Ground Handlers? Part…

It took a few gentle reminders, but as it is said, patience is the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting. That’s probably why there were about 130 A-CDM aficionados collecting their badge for the Europa conference room late September 2015, almost exactly 2 years after the harmonization disputes died away. Once again, apart from the local BRU branch of Aviapartner, the ground handlers were blaringly absent at this event. It’s even become kind of cynical, when time and time again the -underestimated- role of this group of stakeholders gets highlighted, but the ones failing to understand this appear to be the ground handlers themselves…

Anyway, Eurocontrol Deputy Head of Airports Matthis Birenheide kicked of the two-day event by stating that one of the event’s objectives was ‘to identify future A-CDM developments’, besides reporting on today’s situation. Since I’m the first to admit that I’m most certainly not all-knowing on the subject, I had some expectations here.

The audience was up for about 15 presentations, but don’t expect me to comment all of them; I’m poor at taking notes during presentations, so what follows is what I found worth keeping track of mentally, and still appear to be doing after all those weeks. Not to worry, you’ll find every single slide here, and I’m providing links to the relevant presentations as I proceed.

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18, and Counting

5 years later. Let’s retake the project implementation status map of Europe, out of the presentation of Dave Booth, Eurocontrol’s A-CDM Implementation Manager. Happy to announce that the Barcelona-El Prat blue dot has turned green since October 20th 2015, which makes us 18 today. And quite a few emerging projects as you can see, but also, some out there haven’t ‘changed colour’ much in those 5 years, and are struggling or even stuck in their attempts to implement. Reasons may vary, but they are a cause for concern and the main reason for avoiding fragmentation of the attention span here, folks…

A-CDM implementation status in Q3, 2015

A-CDM implementation status in Q3, 2015 (source: Eurocontrol Airport Unit presentation)

Plotting A-CDM on ICAO Charts

Something to not let go out of sight in Dave’s presentation are Eurocontrol’s ongoing efforts to anchor Airport CDM in ICAO literature. Most probably, the concept will be logged as part III of ICAO’s Manual on Collaborative Air Traffic Flow Management (Doc 9971 for those of you with a keen interest), and aims to provide project implementation guidance material, partly extracted out of the Eurocontrol's Implementation Manual, to ensure a harmonized approach on the use of e.g. terminology and procedures along which airport data is shared and used in the decision making process. As a measure to lower the acceptance threshold for an airport-centric concept in the world of ICAO, where air traffic capacity and efficiency is predominantly considered out of an ATFCM point of view, the value of this document-to-be can never be underestimated.

Airport CDM and Its Proven Benefits

For the onset (2010), it was made clear that the combined benefits resulting out of at least 16 local A-CDM implementations would transpire in network performance. Given the current implementation status, time for Eurocontrol to invest in a network impact study on quantitative and qualitative benefits, involving all up-and-running A-CDM airports. I put my non-ATC background to blame, so Simon Pickup from Atlas Chase, who supported Eurocontrol for this study, kind of lost me when discussing ‘sector over-delivery probability by DPI Flight saturation’, I’m afraid. But the graphs testify to what A-CDM has contributed to overall efficiency of airport operations… Have a look for yourself and discover the selected preliminary aggregate results here.

Having been involved in the exercise for Brussels Airport, the initiative has also proven to be an eye-opener on data-driven performance reporting and provided valuable input for in-house reporting and visualization of our result sets (if I manage to figure out those Mann-Kendall probability analysis outputs, that is…).

The study will be concluded in the first quarter of 2016, but it is assumed that it will most probably not reflect the full extent of the benefits as projected in 2010 by having 16 airports online. Not because some of us A-CDM airports refused to contribute, but due to the fact that it was expected that some larger airports, such as Amsterdam Schiphol airport, Wien Schwechat airport and Istanbul Ataturk airport would have connected to the network by now, by the virtue of their traffic volume. According to Eurocontrol/Atlas Chase, given what’s still in the pipeline, we are looking at a volume of 20 to 23 A-CDM airports to correctly benchmark the results against the initial targets.

A-CDM benefit mechanism

The A-CDM benefit mechanism (source: Eurocontrol Benefit & Network Impact study presentation)

Next time in part 2, among others, a rather unconventional view on stakeholder collaboration from the Eurocontrol Network Manager (video), Auckland Airport's refreshing take on A-CDM, all in one great video, the FAA's rather not so aligned approach, and much more.

So please stay tuned, but here's a nice tip to keep you from hitting the refresh button: sign up for New Airport Insider, and part 2 gets automatically delivered in your inbox as soon as it is published. In the meantime, I invite you to leave your comment.

*Things that are out of your hands, that is. Otherwise there’s little use in waiting..

Header image: Vitor Azevedo

Hop On the Airport Risk Review Merry-Go-Round

7 Steps to Airport Wildlife Risk Managment

This is the final part of a 7 part series exploring the use of the ISO 31000 risk management framework in airport wildlife risk management; the previous parts have explored consultation, context, risk identification, assessment, evaluation, and treatment.

You might think you’re all done. You’re now sitting back with your treatments mapped out, all of which are based on your requirements for each of your risk scores relating to your identified species. But this is probably where the management part of risk management comes to the fore.

Monitoring and review is more than a step. Like consultation, it relates to every step of the way. It pops into and out of every other part of the risk management process and different approaches and techniques are required.

The Stalwart

I think nearly every airport that does wildlife hazard management has a bird counting process and there are pretty well established standards for these.

But monitoring and review is so much more than this. In fact it is probably too big to discuss in its entirety here, so I just want to tackle a couple of point I think are important.

Harassment Effectiveness

ISO 31000 lists control effectiveness as the first objective of monitoring and review. While bird counts and strike data do this, for harassment control there are a few other variables that can potentially confound these results.

Instead, I think that airside officers should score the effectiveness of their harassment activities as they do them and, potentially, at set intervals after. A simple scoring system on perceived effectiveness is a good start and over time, may provide useful information on which techniques are worthwhile and which are not. This is particularly important when habituation is a big problem with wildlife harassment.

When? Always But Not All the Time.

While monitoring is continually taking place, there will need to be periods between reviews to ensure that sufficient data is available for the identification of trends and significant phenomena.

On a daily basis, airside officers will be monitoring birds (through standard counts or while on patrol). Sometimes these observations will lead to immediate action such as a BirdTAM or similar but this data will also go into a database for regular review.

Other reviews will take place on seasonal or annual bases. Species identification and habitat reviews may take place at set times during the year.

While some guidance material puts a 5-year timeframe on your wildlife hazard management plan review. I would consider this a review of the plan’s framework (e.g. [risk assessment methodology](link post 4), [risk evaluation criteria](link post 5), etc.) more than its content. A new species is not going to wait for your next review to follow those locusts that just arrived in the area.

Your strategies within the plan will need to be more flexible and your processes will need to be responsive enough to manage the seasonal and periodic variability of the world’s natural environment.

There is Always More

As I hinted above, there is more to this than what I have written about here. It’s a big subject and there is always more to learn, more to write about and more to do. Help us flesh out this subject below by commenting with your experiences, knowledge and lessons learnt.

The Matrix of Airport Wildlife Risk Management

7 Steps to Airport Wildlife Risk Management

This is part 6 of a 7 part series exploring the use of the ISO31000 risk management framework in airport wildlife risk management; the previous parts have explored consultation, context, risk identification, assessment and evaluation.

By now, you’ve got a list of bird and animal species with appropriate risk scores or categories and a list of requirements for each of these categories and this step can either be a lot of fun or infuriatingly frustrating.

Fun, because it involves solving problems and buying toys, and frustrating, because it there are no easy answers. And I’m sorry to report, that this post is not about silver-bullets. There are none.

Remember that context step earlier? That should have been a hint that this series was not going to provide solutions. Instead, we’ve been discussing the approach you can take to implement your own and have confidence in your decisions. So let’s look at how you will decide what toys to buy, what strategies to implement and what activities to perform.

Focus on the Problem

Ever since the risk identification step, we have focussed on the wildlife and it makes sense to carry that on. Especially, if some of those species are in categories that require you to develop a specific risk treatment plan or to target or consider them in your general strategies.

So, take each such species in turn and look for strategies that address their presence on the airport or in flightpaths.

Look for a variety of measures for each species and then put them all together.

Add Structure

Doing the same thing or the same sort of thing, over and over again, is like walking on a tight-rope. There is no room for error and everything is pretty unstable.

It is much more advisable to attack the problem from a few different directions. You need to create a matrix or a network of strategies to provide depth to your defensive strategy. Even ISO recommends this by promoting “the adoption of a combination of treatment options”.

The structure I like to use is to categorise each risk treatment as either preventative/mitigative and passive/active.

Preventative and mitigative refers to the presence of wildlife on the airport or in potential conflict with aircraft. Each risk treatment is categorised on whether it prevents wildlife from entering these areas (either physically, via some deterrent or removal of attractant) or mitigates the impact of their presence.

Passive and active refers the necessity for regular human involvement to enable the control measure to achieve its aim. Passive measures are set and forget type measures (e.g. fences) and active measures require constant or regular human involvement (e.g. egg removal).

Take each of your identified strategies and put them into a matrix with preventative/mitigative on one scale and passive/active on the other. You are aiming for good coverage in each of the four areas. If there are any gaps, keep looking for solutions.

Go Circular

Before you rush off and start implementing your strategies, you might need to do some more risk management. The introduction of risk treatments might introduce new or alter existing risks and these need to be managed much like the wildlife we are seeking to avoid.

A good example is the use of firearms. They introduce quite a bit of risk and you will need to identify, analysis, evaluate and treat these risks as well. The process will be the same but the tools and techniques will differ.

Once you have closed this loop, you are ready to go - good luck.


Don’t go too far, you are going to need to keep an eye on things and make adjustments as required. Let’s go through this in the next and final post. While we wait, why not post a comment on your treatment strategies.

Resources More information on wildlife hazard management and bird strikes can be found at:


How to Set the Standards for Airport Wildlife Management Decisions

7 Steps to Airport Wildlife Risk Management

This is part 5 of a 7 part series exploring the use of the ISO31000 risk management framework in airport wildlife risk management; part 1 was on frameworks and consultation, part 2 discussed context, part 3 outlined risk identification strategies and part 4 looked at risk analysis techniques.

The last article helped you add some data to your list of bird and animal species. Using a risk model, you will have scores or categories (probably with lots of colour) assigned to each of the species.

Now, we can add some meaning to that list.

Often, a risk assessment ends before we get to this step. I've seen a couple of instances where the results of the analysis are ranked with work beginning at the top and working its way down until the resources run out.

But what if the next species down also requires action? And how can you ever make the argument for more resources if your process only ever considers your existing resources?

In Need of Some Criteria

The secret to this step is to think about it before you start - way back when you are developing your wildlife risk management framework.

ISO31000 notes that the risk evaluation step "assists in the decision about risk treatment" and involves the comparison of your risk analysis results with risk criteria.

So, once you know what risk model or analysis technique you will be using, you will know what the format of the results you will get - scores, categories, levels, etc. Now all you need are some risk criteria.

These will be your guide as to what will be expected for each species in each of your result groups. There is no rocket science involved. Just look at it hypothetically - "if a species falls into this category, what will I expect myself to do?"

At my airport, I started at the top and asked that very question for each risk category. For "extreme" species, I require a specific risk treatment strategy to target this bird or animal, special reporting requirements must be developed and that I have a target for a reduction in that species’ numbers over the next reporting period.

For the "very high" species, my general strategies must explicitly target those species with a reduction in their numbers also required. From there, the "musts" turn into "shoulds" and then into "mays".

table whm

By setting these criteria up front, you remove the angst of making a decision. You also objectify the risk assessment process by setting the risk treatment standard in isolation of the assessment process. This ensures that you are taking a realistic look at your potential problem.

Not All Plain Sailing

I will admit that this approach has the ability to tie your hands. Especially, if you've got a big problem. But that's the point.

The idea of risk management is to be as objective as possible. To answer the questions of “Am I doing enough?”, “Should I do more?”, “Do I need more resources?”/

If you make these tough decisions up front, they will free you and your staff from questioning or second guessing the risk assessment on the fly and the results you get will be robust, solid and defendable.

Coming up in part 6, we will be looking at how to approach the risk treatment step. There are a lot of options for animal and bird control but selecting the right mix can be difficult. In the meantime, you can put forward your point of view in the comments section below. We welcome feedback from other practitioners, whether expert or novice.

This article was originally published on the author’s blog, however, as it is relevant to the series and of great value to our readers, the post has been updated and republished as part 5 of this series.

Additional Resources

A-CDM Concept Elements: Getting Linked In With ATC

Airport CDM

This is part 3 of a 6-part series on European Airport Collaborative Decision Making, in which we explore 2 out of 6 concept elements that constitute the implementation of an A-CDM project. In part 2, we looked at the data sharing efforts to be undertaken, the ‘milestone approach’ and the collaborative pre-departure sequence.

In this episode, we’ll continue exploring the European collaborative decision making implementation details, leading to A-CDM implementation. Last time, we ended with the variable taxi time element as one of the elements that constitute the collaborative pre-departure sequence. Next in line is perhaps the most challenging step of them all… 

Adverse Conditions Management

Airport Collaborative Decision Making Photo: AP / Virginia Mayo

Although ‘adverse conditions’ cover all possible events that may put a strain on regular airport operations, be it a baggage belt breakdown, a raging thunderstorm overhead or an industrial action, focus tends to be on managing the aircraft, stand, taxi- and runway de-icing or de-snowing process. Frankly, heavy winter conditions rapidly turn Western and Southern European airports in chaotic resorts, and the least we want to do is to insert some organisation in that chaos.

Recently, Eurocontrol published the de-icing milestones -I’ll spare you the set of acronyms that came with it- which allow an airport and its de-icing agents to keep track of the progress of the operations, to try to put some predictability in the whole set-up. Set-ups which vary to a very large extent between airports, ranging from centralized, airport-steered de-icing pads close to the runway holding points (ideal!) to combinations of spread on-stand/remote de-icing by 2 or more independently operating de-icing agents (auch!).

In either way, it’s up to the airport to get its act together during adverse circumstances and  be persistent in running its operations in a collaborative way with its stakeholders and keeping the community in the loop. You would be surprised how quick people forget they’re working on an A-CDM airport when the going gets tough…

Almost There: E-DPI, T-DPI-t, T-DPI-s, A-DPI, C-DPI…

Remember the target off-blocks time (TOBT)/target start-up approval time (TSAT) concept, which enables the airport to collaboratively build an aircraft start-up order through data shared by its stakeholders; the time has come to kick functionality in to life that uploads this data into Eurocontrol’s Enhanced Tactical Flow Management System (ETFMS, here we go again…). We do this via a set of structured messages called DPI’s: departure planning information messages. Depending on the course of events during a flight’s turn-around at the airport and/or the time left to departure, a different kind of DPI is transmitted by local Air Traffic Control at the airport. Data elements in the DPI’s vary slightly from type to type, but it is the aim to provide a quality Target Take-Off Time (TTOT), which is getting more correct when the actual departure time approaches.


Photo: FUM/DPI exchange (courtesy of Eurocontrol)

ETFMS likes our DPI’s, and gives us something in return: the flight update messages (FUM), providing a continuous flow of operational data on inbound flights, for intra-Europe flights even if the aircraft is still sitting on the ramp at the airport of origin.  Airport operators are particularly interested in the Estimated Landing Times (ELDT) out of those FUM’s, because they form the basis for a good first departure estimation.

Once DPI transmission is established, call yourself an A-CDM airport. You successfully managed to deploy an up-and-running data sharing platform and provided access for the whole airport community. You have a D-MAN in place to master your pre-departure sequence. You’ve built trust among your airport partners and they accept 3rd party data in order to fine tune their operations and the estimation of the core target times. You have transparent procedures in place to tackle predicted and unforeseen capacity drops, and you channel all of the above in DPI. Congratulations, and I’m not being sarcastic this time.

In the next episode, we’ll take a closer look at the road map of an actual implementation, and how Brussels Airport managed to roll out full A-CDM as Europe’s second.

This article is part 3 in a series of 6 on European Airport Collaborative Decision Making.

Additional Resources

photo credit: APilotsEye

Airport Wildlife Risk Modelling


7 Steps to Airport Wildlife Risk Management

This is part 4 of a 7 part series exploring the use of the ISO31000 risk management framework in Airport Wildlife Risk Management; part 1 was “Frameworks and Consultation”, part 2 was “Setting the Airport Wildlife Hazard Scene” and part 3 was “Lining Up the Usual (Wildlife) Suspects

So, now you are now equipped with a list of species you may want or need to control. To get that flow I mentioned my last article, you will need to set up a framework for analysis first. The goal of this framework is to, in the words of ISO31000, “comprehend the nature of risk and to determine the level of risk.”

In Need of a Model

Luckily, there already exists a number of approaches to this very problem. The one I’m most familiar with is the Paton Bird Risk Assessment Model developed by the University of Adelaide and Adelaide Airport.

Overall, the Paton model is based on a consequence-probability matrix but beneath that it uses relatively easy-to-quantify factors that go into the mix to produce a final score.

The consequence side of the equation is made up of 3 factors which are multiplied together to produce a consequence score. This score is equated to 1 of 6 consequence categories.

The 3 factors are:

  • Body Mass - Broken up into 6 categories ranging from less than 20 grams to greater than 5 kilograms, these categories are given a score ranging from 1 through to 32.
  • Flocking Behaviour - 3 levels of flocking behaviour with scores assigned from 1 to 4.
  • Flight Behaviour - 2 types, rapid direct and not, scored 1 and 2 respectively.

Likelihood is a little more complex multiple criteria used simultaneously to assign 1 of 4 categories and other factors used to modify this score. Generally, however, it is abundance and strike history which contribute to this score.

The Paton model provides quantitative and qualitative descriptors for this part of the process. A number of sub-criteria elaborate further and do help you get to an answer.

With the consequence and likelihood categories in hand, the overall risk matrix gives you a final risk category - one of six from negligible to extreme. And that is your final answer - lock it in.


The Paton model has a number of limitations. The first one Paton mentions in the paper - time. Timeframes aren’t considered as part of the above process.

Also, ground-based animals aren’t considered. I don’t think this is such a big problem as body mass is just as relevant and one only needs to change flight and flock to movement and herd and it works pretty well.

It is, of course, a model and this means that it won’t apply in all circumstances. As long as you go in to the process eyes open and give the results an arms length gross error check, the results should work and users can have some confidence in the process.

Other Models

There are other approaches and I’m not making a judgement call which is better. The Paton model just happens to be the one I have used the most. There are links to other models in the resources section below.

In part 5 we are going to take the time to set some criteria to which we will compare this analysis. It is a step often overlooked. But before we get there, wouldn’t you like to make a comment on your preferred model or technique in the area below?

Additional Resources More information on wildlife hazard management and bird strikes can be found on the web at: