CDM airports

A Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) airport provides the full set of Departure Planning Information (DPI) messages.

How does it work in a nutshell?

The exchange of dynamic CDM information between the NMOC and the airport is a two-way process which consists in:

  • sending DPI messages from the airport concerned to the NMOC. These messages contain the latest information on, for example, estimated or target times for the take-off of a particular flight, the aircraft type, taxi times, and the SID;
  • sending Flight Update Messages (FUM) from the NMOC to the airports concerned, providing the Airport CDM platform with the flight status, the estimated landing times, etc.

The main information to be received via the DPI message is:

  • an accurate estimate of the take-off time;
  • the taxi time;
  • the departure route (SID);
  •  the aircraft type and REGistration.

This allows the proactive sharing of real time data with the NMOC, therefore optimising the ATFCM slot allocation process and achieving a more efficient use of the ATFCM network capacity.

How can the Network Manager assist airports?

EUROCONTROL and the NMOC strongly support the development, harmonisation and dissemination of new methods and best practices to meet the requirements and expectations of airports.

As a first step, the NMOC can provide initial information on the DPI and FUM messages to airports - after the CDM implementation decision has been taken.

As a second step, we would strongly recommend following the corresponding training course delivered by the EUROCONTROL training institute (IANS). This course demonstrates the importance of full and common operational situational awareness thanks to the implementation of Airport CDM, the local benefits and return on investment and the resulting gains at network level. Airports which have already implemented A-CDM present their own experiences and the benefits that have been achieved.


The overall objective of the FUM/DPI message exchange is to better coordinate ATFCM with airport operations in order to ensure the punctual updating of flight data, more consistent slot calculation and improved slot adherence. 

Departure Planning Information (DPI)

This airport situational information is collected direct from the Airport CDM systems in order to update the real-time flight situation, prior to take-off, in the Network Operations systems.

Thanks to this improved accuracy of flight information, DPI ultimately serves to improve ATFCM traffic predictions and consequently, the effectiveness of the ATFM measures to be taken.

Four phases have been identified which require coordination with ATFCM:

  • Planning phase: Airport schedule and flight plan estimates must be reconciled and consistent information must be sent to the Network Manager. Ghost flights and duplicated flights have to be deleted. A first evaluation of the realistic taxi-time and SID will be indicated to the Network Manager Operations Centre in order to facilitate a more realistic calculation of the ATFM slot.
  • Turn-around phase: Based on the flight connection, a more realistic estimate of the Off Block time will be available, based on the arrival time of the inbound flight and turn around time. It generally results in the creation and accurate maintenance of the Target Off-Block Time (TOBT) by AOs and handlers.
  • Pre-sequencing: 30-40mins before the TOBT, the flight is included in the ATC pre-departure sequence, which will result in a Target Start-up Approval Time (TSAT). For regulated flights, the TSAT takes the ATFM slot into account.
  • ATC phase or pre-sequencing: At delivery of engine start-up clearance delivery, the flight is handed over to the tower for push-back, taxiing and take-off. Local control units (ATC/Apron) will ensure that the flight goes off-blocks and takes-off as close as possible to the local target times (TSAT, TTOT).

At any time during these four phases a change in the Airport operating conditions may alter the taxi-time and/or SID.

Flight Update Messages

The objective of the FUM message is to provide the CDM airport with an accurate estimated landing time of arriving flights in order to improve the planning of outbound traffic.


Integration of airports in the Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) process

The DPI and FUM message exchanges bring airports into the loop of the ATFM decision making process. The NMOC receives information about flight status and airport situation. This allows all operational stakeholders to share a common understanding of the ATFCM situation and to engage in collaborative decision- making.

On EUROCONTROL’s side, the ETFMS functions, such as slot allocation, also benefit from the DPI and FUM message exchanges by becoming more efficient and more adapted to the AO’s needs and airport constraints.

DPI messages help with the early detection of ghost flight plans and the coordination of airport and ATFM slots.

Improve short-term traffic situation forecasts

The DPI messages provide the Network Manager with more accurate short-term take-off time estimates. As the number of airports issuing DPI messages grows, the traffic forecasts provided downstream by the NMOC become more accurate.

Enable AOs to get a better view of their fleet before departure

As the Network Manager distributes the DPI information downstream, the AOs get a more detailed picture of their fleet prior to departure. This supports AOs in their fleet management and turn-around processes, facilitating decisions such as aircraft changes.

Support the management of critical situations at airports

The DPI messages help the airport and the Network Manager collaborate better in the case of special circumstances at the airport, such as severe weather conditions, de-icing or runway capacity reduction. The DPI messages inform the Network Manager about the airport constraints in real-time, which results in more adapted ATFM decisions.

CDM airport - measured benefits

The DPI evaluation reports published by CDM airports demonstrate the considerable improvements achieved in terms of slot adherence and departure time accuracy since the DPI messages were implemented.

The NMOC now receives better information about departures, in terms of take-off time accuracy, but also, valuable information for ATFCM purposes (no slot before information is provided for example). This results in improved adherence to ATFM slots.

Implementation Status

The following table sets out the European Airport DPI implementation plans that have been provided by CDM airports to the Network Manager Operations Centre (NMOC).

Airport DPI Implementation Status map