ACI EUROPE Calls for “Integrated Approach” Between Airports and Air Traffic Management

(Photo: Key Archive)

ACI EUROPE’s director general, Olivier Jankovec, opened EUROCONTROL’s Digitally Connected Airports conference on February 27 by calling for a closer cooperation and effective operational integration between airports and Air Traffic Management (ATM) to boost performance and improve sustainability.
Speaking at the event, Mr Jankovec outlined the imperative for all players in the aviation ecosystem and for Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) in particular to pull together in managing & developing infrastructure capacity in the air and on the ground1.

“In Europe, airports went through a major business transformation as Governments have stepped back in favour of corporatisation and privatisation. That transformation has clearly led airports to focus on operational efficiency and quality. This is as much about putting the passenger at the forefront of everything we do as making the most of our facilities. However, our efforts to achieve more efficiencies require ANSPs to work with airports in a more integrated manner. This means breaking existing operational silos – and finally getting ANSPs to get involved in and support Airports’ Operational Centres.”

Airport Operational Centres (APOCs) are local collaborative operational platforms designed to bring together the airport operator, the local ANSP, airlines, ground handlers, police and customs. By facilitating a constant sharing of information, APOCs ensure a better (more integrated) use of both available airport & airspace capacity – which in turn allows the minimisation of flight delays and cancellations. While ANSPs’ involvement is clearly crucial, they have yet to join APOCs at major European airports – with the exception of London-Heathrow, where NATS is participating. ACI EUROPE considers that the establishment of formal contractual relationships between airports and ANSPs would help achieve that.

Mr Jankovec concluded by stressing how these issues become even more relevant in the face of the Climate Emergency and airports’ drive to become more sustainable2: “By adding even more pressure on the need for more operational efficiency, the Climate Emergency makes the case for airport and ATM integration a no-brainer. But beyond that, the EU’s climate objectives require an ambitious structural ATM reform that can achieve real de-fragmentation.”


1This follows and complements the comprehensive positioning of ACI EUROPE on airport capacity released in November 2019 – link
2View the ACI EUROPE’s Sustainability Strategy for Airports here

View the ACI EUROPE Resolution on Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 here