Aerodrome adverse weather remains the main reason for air traffic flow management delay at European airports. While we cannot control the weather, the aviation community can improve the operational response to adverse weather effects on aerodrome operational capacity - improving efficiency and sustainability of air traffic.
The SMART Weather Task Force was set up to identify harmonised operational best practices that facilitate the handling of adverse weather in a collaborative manner whilst minimising the disruption to airport and network operations. The Task Force was part of the EUROCONTROL Airport Operations Team (AOT) work plan, working on “Harmonised Procedures for airports with similar operational environment” as part of the EUROCONTROL Network Manager’s Operational Excellence Programme. It consisted of airspace users of low cost, scheduled airline carriers, and charter airlines; air navigation service providers and flow management position; national meteorological (MET) service providers; airport slot coordinators, and EUROCONTROL data scientists.
The SMART Wx task force catalogued existing operational best practices for WX in Work Package 1 to identify the common principles in these best practices from multiple airports to promote a harmonized operational procedures across Europe. An equal approach was taken for the report on Technology (Work Package 2) to describe examples of technology systems that are in use in Europe and that address the issues related to bad weather at aerodromes. The technology best practices focus on:
- elicitation of common user requirements for MET products and services;
- SWIM for MET;
- provision of MET data and observations in the initial Airport Operations Plan (AOP);
- provision of MET now-casting services and operational risk assessment of the MET forecast; and
- Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning decision-making support.
The Task Force was co-chaired by EUROCONTROL, airline association Airlines for Europe (A4E) and EUMETNET, a grouping of 31 European MET service providers, and concluded its work in June 2022 with the approval of the second Guidance Material report “Technology in support of managing adverse Weather at European Aerodromes: SWIM, new MET products, Airport Operations Plan, Demand- Capacity Balancing and Artificial Intelligence Predictive tools“.