Collaborative environmental management


EUROCONTROL’s CEM Specification describes a process, the CEM Working Arrangement that brings together the core operational stakeholders at airports: the airport operator, the main aircraft operators and the ANSP. The objective is to identify the environmental impact of operational constraints and to enable a coordinated response that minimises these impacts whilst maximising the airport’s current and future performance.

This Working Arrangement can be either a suitable existing forum or the establishment of a new one depending on local needs and requirements. Additionally, local circumstances may call for the inclusion of other relevant stakeholders.

The requirements to set up a CEM Working Arrangement are set out in the CEM Protocol (Chapter 7) of the EUROCONTROL CEM Specification published in September 2014 following a public consultation process involving stakeholders across the entire European aviation sector.

A revised Edition 1.3 published in December 2021 reflects the growing importance and impacts of environmental issues in the aviation sector.


By providing a platform for discussion, CEM Working Arrangements allow core operational stakeholders to identify interdependencies and synergies, quantify impacts, and reach compromises on trade-offs from both an operational and environmental perspective. Adopting this practical approach administrative burdens are minimised and action-orientated decisions reached that meet the dynamic context and needs of an airport.

Strategically, CEM working arrangements can also address longer-term operational and planning issues. Examples include the introduction of new airspace design, the implementation of different approach or departure procedures such as CDO or PBN, reduced engine taxing and APU usage, de-icing procedures, planning scenarios for new airport infrastructure and adaptation actions to reduce the impacts and costs of climate change.

Through implementing local solutions, potential benefits for all operational stakeholders can be seen in the reduction of fuel burn and CO2 emissions for Airlines, improved Noise Management at and around Airports, and agreement on common messages to local stakeholders, be they political, commercial or, critically, from the local residents. The operational focus of CEM can help the core stakeholders to reduce operational constraints, optimise capacity and contribute to reductions in delays for the travelling public.

Collaborative environmental management

Noise and pollution emissions

Facing the challenges of a booming air travel industry.

History and origins

EUROCONTROL developed the CEM Specification with the close involvement of ACI EUROPE and other industry stakeholders. The Specification was designed to help airports and their operational partners - including airlines and ANSPs - manage an increasing stock of environmental regulations with a view to enabling them to arrive at speedier and more effective joint solutions for the sustainable operation and development of airports. In practice, it requires CEM partners to put together monitoring processes to track key environmental parameters and support the work of competent authorities and each other in complying with environmental regulation.

The content of these arrangements will vary from airport to airport, but the CEM Protocol developed by EUROCONTROL and endorsed by ACI EUROPE as an industry recommended practice provides for the establishment of a minimum frequency of meetings, agreed rules on confidentiality and the opening of dialogue with external stakeholders.

The issues to be addressed through CEM working arrangements include noise, local air quality and greenhouse gas emissions – arguably the three most critical environmental priorities for airport operators. By offering a general rubric for airport partners to address them in a collaborative manner, the CEM Protocol helps them to identify trade-offs between objectives and to make informed decisions.