In last couple of decades, air travel has become quite accessible thanks to the advent of low cost carriers (LCCs) and the millennial population’s affinity to travel for global experiences. While the spike in passenger footfalls have helped airlines, airports and other stakeholders achieve economies of scale, it has also forced the aviation stakeholders to expand their airport capacity. Now with COVID-19 travel restrictions, capacity is not a primary concern for airports. The bigger challenge now is to improve operational efficiency and improve predictability.


Before the pandemic, regions such as India, Middle East and ASEAN were expected to experience significant growth in the next decade. After the sharp decline caused by the pandemic, reports suggest recovery is in sight. As per a recent report by Research and Markets, notes that regions with high levels of domestic travel as the United States, India, China, and Latin America will recover sooner as restrictions on domestic travel are lifted earlier than for international travel.

Though capacity is not a primary concern at present, traditional ways of building airport and airside infrastructure no longer seem viable. The fluctuations in passenger demand require airlines, airports and Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) to operate more cohesively. Operational efficiency and better predictability are the need of the hour, and the Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) concept will play a pivotal role in enabling this.

A-CDM has proved quite effective in driving operational efficiency and increasing predictability to airport operations by incorporating key elements, such as:

  • Information sharing
  • Milestone approach
  • Variable Taxi Time
  • Pre-Departure sequencing
  • A-CDM adverse conditions
  • Linking with Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM)

Common definitions and understanding of turnaround events like AIBT, TOBT, AOBT, TSAT and CTOT for various stakeholders and information sharing is prominent in most global markets. However, glaring gaps emerge in these events at major airports, particularly during:

  • Adoption of procedures
  • Adoption and automation of all elements of A-CDM
  • Centralized flow management integration with ATC and Airport Operations

Technology and digital transformation play an important role in filling these gaps which help the ATC, airports, airlines and GHAs to synchronize their operations more efficiently in different phases of flight.

  • Arrival Phase – Where the most critical parameter requiring accuracy is the Estimated Landing Time, ELDT (ETA – used currently), which determines the Estimated In-Block Time (EIBT).
  • Turnaround Phase – Based on AIBT (Actual In-Block Time), enhanced predictability in TOBT (Target Off-Block Time) and delay accommodation from arrival phase for smoother turn around and departure phase can be achieved. This ensures consistency in getting TSAT (Target Start Up Approval Time) generated for Departing Flight.
  • Departure Phase – No Variance in TOBT vs. AOBT is desirable in this phase. Any delays in AOBT beyond the permissible time limit, leads to the issuance of an update on TOBT and TSAT for all stakeholders. The A-CDM continuously monitors the flight until take off (ATOT).

Integration between Airport Operations Database (AODB) at the airport, airside planning and surveillance systems of ATC (A-SMGCS, Arrival Manager and Departure Manager) and ATFM systems for consistent information update and data exchange is imperative. It is also important that the stakeholders avail and visualize this information on their mobile devices or web-based platforms.

It can be achieved seamlessly through open and flexible architecture that can integrate data in various format across different stakeholder systems. At ADB SAFEGATE, our comprehensive understanding of operational systems for different stakeholders places us in a unique position to support our customers with deep operational understanding of airside, apron, ATC and terminal operations systems.

Find out how – register for our Industry Webinar on Breaking the Silos – Integrated Tower Operations & Flow Management from Approach to Departure, on November 3, 2020

ADB SAFEGATE and Atech Joint Webinar: Breaking the silos - Integrated Tower Operations & Flow Management from approach to departure

For more information about our offerings for different stakeholders, please click here  

ADB SAFEGATE provides integrated solutions that raise efficiency, improve safety, boost environmental sustainability and reduce operational costs for airports, airlines and ANSPs. The company works with airports and airlines to solve operational bottlenecks from approach to departure. Solutions encompass airfield lighting, tower-based traffic control systems, intelligent docking automation and services, as well as applying advanced IT and analytics to deliver industry-leading Total Airport Management. For more information about ADB SAFEGATE, please visit our website at adbsafegate.com.

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Rachit Arun Mehrotra
Regional Sales Director- Tower & Airport Systems