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Airport Corner: A key product enhancing network awareness & network performance

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Vienna International Airport (VIE)

One of the EUROCONTROL Network Manager’s most important products for the NM and stakeholders is Airport Corner, an airport-focused data repository that takes airport and air navigation service provider (ANSP) information and enhances situational awareness for airlines and NM, enabling NM to manage the European ATM network better. The more we know about what is happening in the network, the more efficiently we can support our stakeholders.

Airport Corner for airports

Supported by a secure web application, Airport Corner integrates participating airports into various network processes. By filling NM in as far in advance as possible on unplanned event information such as bad weather, industrial action and unscheduled maintenance, situational awareness is improved exponentially, notes Sofia Kihlgren, EUROCONTROL's NM Operations Centre (NMOC) Operations Manager, leading to “better coordination and more informed collaborative decision-making”.

114 airports covering more than 60% of all departures in Europe use Airport Corner to report information and better integrate into various NM processes, from strategic planning to post-operational assessment, as set out in the Network Strategic Plan and required by the Network Operations Plan. And NMOC is keen to get more airports on board, as Kihlgren emphasises: “the more airports use it, the better it becomes for the EUROCONTROL NM in terms of network awareness and improved network performance.”

Strategic information includes current and forecast capacities, traffic forecasts, planned local events which might have an impact on the network, environmental management, standard and temporary diversion capabilities, PBN implementation plans, Terminal Manoeuvring Area (TMA)/approach; Continuous Descent and Climb Operations (CDO/CCO), Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) implementation, and more.

Pre-tactical information covers events such as adverse weather, industrial action or unplanned maintenance, and is used by NM to prepare its day-1 pre-tactical plan.

Another important part of the Airport Corner is its diversion capabilities process, which is vital at times of extremely bad weather or crisis situations. The process was used in VOLCEX18 and 19, the Volcanic Ash Exercises organised by ICAO and EUROCONTROL, and can assist the NM by providing timely information on airport stand availability for diversions. As Kihlgren notes, “in a diversion scenario, every free stand counts”, which is why NM aims at bringing all airports in the core network area into Airport Corner.

Other useful features for airports include an emergency interface giving them another channel through which they can give contextual information about any adverse situation occurring on their platforms; the ability to benefit from post-operations briefings to see where they can improve performance; and an information service that pushes real-time notifications.

Confidentiality flags allow airports to update the NM so that it can take actions that will help the network, while ensuring that this information will not be divulged; there’s also a Public Airport Corner version accessible via the Network Operations Portal (NOP) used by over 1,000 users every month.

Airport Corner for airlines

Since summer 2018 airlines have been able to access Airport Corner as well in an interface restricted to aircraft operators (AOs), with 82 AOs already on board for what Aircraft Operator Liaison Cell staff working at EUROCONTROL call “an important tool in getting tailored information for their airport network both in planning and in execution phases” that allows them to use a single and dedicated application to access efficiently data relating to planned events and their likely impact, and deliver tangible benefits to tactical operations thanks to a better initial understanding of diversion capability. Airlines can request information from the Airport Corner by reaching out to us via our contacts form.

Sharing airport information allows NM to identify issues that may affect network performance very early on. It also ensures that existing and future airport operation plans are fully taken into consideration, so that enough capacity is made available at the right places to accommodate traffic from and to European airports.

The Airport Corner platform sharpens situational awareness for ATM partners, and, ultimately, results in optimised airport and network performance. It “allows key stakeholders like ANSPs, airlines and airports to take better informed business decisions. This is especially true for pre-tactical situations with negative impact on airport capacity like major works and unexpected events, such as adverse weather, where airlines need to make diversion decisions and consider night curfew consequences”, states ACI Europe’s liaison officer at EUROCONTROL, Eugène Leeman.

Planned Airport Corner enhancements

To integrate still more airports and airlines into the network, and to improve the service offered to existing customers, the EUROCONTROL NM plans to improve the tool by:

  • extending the range of network-relevant information. We will integrate EAD information, such as NOTAMs, AIP SUPs, SNOWTAMs and charts, NM systems information (regulations, traffic, etc.) and meteorological information.
  • reducing the effort required from participating airports when providing data, by automating and complementing information that currently requires manual input.
  • building a B2B connection to airports’ local systems that will further reduce manual data capture effort, and deliver updated information in real time. We will integrate the Airport Operations Plan - the Network Operations Plan (AOP-NOP), events and diversion capabilities.
  • employing data and machine-learning techniques to build a pre-tactical situation prediction tool. The plan is for the tool to become available in 2020.
  • enhancing the interface to improve user-friendliness.
  • rationalising and upgrading the events reporting process.

One of our major goals is building proportionality into the tool: we recognise that not all airports need to provide the full scope of information covered in the Airport Corner. We intend to create airport profiles, asking airports for particular data sets based on users’ specific needs. By tailoring our requests for information from airports to the network’s needs, we aim to save valuable effort for the airports and ourselves, so providing a better service to our partners.

Airport corner

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