Operational Excellence Programme

Building the Network together.

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The Operational Excellence Programme, launched by the EUROCONTROL Network Manager (NM) in full partnership with the operational stakeholders, represents a concrete step towards improving European network performance. The programme is one of the EUROCONTROL NM's cornerstone initiatives, and complements the Airspace Restructuring programme.

Partnership with operational stakeholders

Partnership with operational stakeholders is the key rationale for the Operational Excellence Programme. Its goals are to identify operational and technical evolutions and to ensure their implementation. This will help harmonise the entire network and bring demonstrated benefits for European aviation. Our stakeholders – air navigation service providers, airports, airspace users in conjunction with computer flight plan service providers, and military authorities – are in the driving seat of this programme.

Note: Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/123 defines operational stakeholders as “the civil and military airspace users, civil and military air navigation service providers and airport operators which operate in the airspace referred to in Article 1(4)”.


The programme will be fully managed within the current Network Cooperative Decision Making (CDM) working arrangements and will be part of the EUROCONTROL NM work programme.

The programme will:

  • be managed jointly by the Network Directors of Operations (NDOP) and the Network Directors of Technology Group (NDTECH);
  • report regularly to the Network Management Board (NMB).


The activities will be organised around a number of agreed work-streams, each containing several specific operational and technical work-stream topics reviewed and prioritized by the operational stakeholders. The structure of the programme addresses evolutions in the fields of air traffic flow and capacity management (ATFCM), civil-military cooperation, airport operational matters, technical evolutions, etc.

Each work-stream topic will be steered by an operational stakeholder which will act as a champion, supported by contributors (also operational stakeholders) and a work-stream topic leader from the EUROCONTROL NM, which will provide technical and administrative support as required.


The Operational Excellence Programme will deliver a Harmonised Implementation Plan that takes into account local and network needs, is agreed with operational stakeholders and is documented at network and local levels in the Network Operations Plan (NOP). The Harmonised Implementation Plan will be maintained in an online repository.

Helping European aviation recover from COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has underlined the urgent need for such an initiative and the principles of the Operational Excellence Programme have already been applied in response to the pandemic.

Good practices to manage the impact of the pandemic on operations are being shared among operational stakeholders (e.g. rostering, training, licensing, ops room set-up, sanitary measures, etc.) and States (e.g. relaxation of national restrictions), while at all times maintaining confidentiality.

This has once again confirmed that partnership with operational stakeholders is key to the success of every network initiative, be it in normal operations times, as well as in times of crisis.