Getting to grips with airport operations management

21 December 2016

SESAR1 is closing: we are moving into SESAR2020.

“Now is a good time to showcase what we have achieved over the last years in Airport Operations Management and look at how we will go forward - with a special focus on the Total Airport Management work we’ll be doing in SESAR2020,” explained EUROCONTROL’s Alan Marsden.

”So we held an open day to do this - but we did not want to have a day just filled with presentations. We wanted delegates to have hands-on experience on our APOC (Airport Operations Centre) validation and simulation environment - and we let them do just that, so they could explore its different functionalities and capabilities.”

Looking back …

The day did begin with a few presentations. Pierre Andribet, the Centre’s Head, welcomed participants, reminding them that EUROCONTROL had been deeply involved in SESAR1 -especially in airport operations - and that it was committing significant resources to SESAR2020.

The SESAR Joint Undertaking gave an overview of the SESAR Programme, highlighting airport aspects. They focused on the SESAR Solutions catalogue, featuring projects which have reached sufficient maturity for deployment.

London Heathrow’s ATM Transformation Manager, Andy Knight, spoke about eight SESAR1 operational projects which had entailed a wide range of validation exercises in many locations.

A principal element in APOC’s toolset is performance-based monitoring and management. Together with our airport partners, notably Paris Charles de Gaulle and Madrid-Barajas, we have developed a performance dashboard which gives details on current and predicted airport performance. It provides a detailed analysis of different airport processes - both airside and landside - so that problems and their root causes can be identified and remedial actions instigated. EUROCONTROL’s Denis Huet presented the work done in this domain.

Paris Airports’ Olivier Delain presented the key elements of work to be done in the Total Airport Management project - PJ04 - in SESAR2020.

EUROCONTROL’s Dave Booth showed the audience how the Network Manager is working with airports to bring SESAR1 developments in the Airport Operations Plan and APOC to deployment.

But the day was not just about presentations!


An integral part of SESAR1 developments is EUROCONTROL’s APOC validation and simulation platform, now gaining widespread recognition. Delegates were briefed on five recent simulations that were carried out at Paris Charles de Gaulle, Alicante, London Heathrow, Madrid-Barajas and Toulouse.

These airports used the SESAR principles of common information-sharing and reinforced collaborative decision-making for simulating both airside and landside processes. An important feature was that, in each case, it was the airport itself that defined the operational scenario so making the simulation highly relevant.

… and UDPP

Two very different platform capabilities were demonstrated: the User Driven Prioritisation Process (UDPP) toolset and its “what-if” feature.

In the UDDP demonstration, organised by the team from Brétigny, delegates had an overview of the concept of equitable airline flight prioritisation in capacity-constrained situations. They saw how the simulation platform could facilitate decision-making and point out potential impact on future flight rotations.

The “what-if” capability, demonstrated by colleagues from Madrid Barajas, showed how the impact of closing a runway can be measured in terms of delay and stand occupancy for different arrival and departure capacity balancing scenarios in the next two hours - all done in just six minutes! The delegates appreciated how this capability can help make the right “trade-off” decision, one based on relevant, pertinent information - in the true spirit of CDM.

Participants were generous in their praise of the Open Day. Those delegates who had not been directly involved in the SESAR Programme found that the day was particularly rich in terms of information gathered and the opportunities they had to discuss matters with colleagues from other airports and airlines. They greatly appreciated the APOC platform and a number of airports said that they would be interested in using it to support their own APOC development in the future.

Watch our video to learn more about the APOC UDPP demonstration days.

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