Projects and applications to manage winter weather – 2015

Flying home for Christmas or for winter holidays can, as every air traveller knows, be a challenge because of severe weather. Weather delays in 2015 were mainly caused by wind, thunderstorms and fog causing low visibility. Snow, rain and de-icing were also weather phenomena which destabilized the management of our air traffic.

There are now a whole series of tools, applications and projects designed to keep on improving the safety and efficiency of aircraft operations and ATC service provision in Europe, and to manage our resources collectively and in good time.

The Network Manager’s Airport Playbook monitors daily airport ATFM arrival delays against internal guidelines. Overall airport ATFM delays in 2014 stood at 0.42 minutes per flight, while in 2015 the figure was 0.69 minutes per flight. Climate change played a big role here, but not only of course.

In this dossier, you will read more about the initiatives taken by the Network Manager to anticipate, manage and support all stakeholders when they face adverse weather conditions, based on the latest developments in 2015:

  • A common proactive strategy for weather delays. Aligned weather impact management of ATFM regulations improves decision-making processes and reduces the potential impact on safety, capacity and delays. More specifically, this means managing responses actively and sharing tailored forecasts and local plans in good time.
  • Risk modelling to support situational awareness and collaboration. The Network Resilience Tool (NRT) provides an overall view of how weather can impact network operations. The impact is calculated with a sophisticated Risk Assessment Model (RAM) and disseminated to all interested stakeholders via a web-based graphical user interface, so that situational awareness can be properly shared.
  • Airports under severe weather conditions. In adverse conditions A-CDM (Airport Collaborative Decision Making) helps airports to manage the impact of bad weather on operations by disseminating relevant information in anticipation of disruptions and facilitating rapid recovery afterwards.
  • Massive Diversion (MassDiv) process. The difference compared to today’s situation will be the ability to plan massive diversions beyond local plans, based on business requirements and preferences and providing all users with real-time information.
  • Runway snow and ice easy to understand with Digital (Graphical) SNOWTAM. The Digital SNOWTAM Application of the European AIS Database (EAD) provides easy-to-understand, graphical information on the status of a runway's snow and ice contamination levels in winter operating conditions.
  • Smoother approaches to the white slopes. For several years now, the Network Manager has been running a "ski axis process" and is in close contact with local units to facilitate winter operations. As of 2014 the Integrated Initial Flight Plan Processing System (IFPS) receives First Sector Activation (FSA) Message information for all westbound flights, along with Departure Messages for all flights departing the Russian Federation.

In this dossier

Air Traffic Management (ATM) disruptions may be caused by...
The winter sports season is one of many special events that...
Early planning to mitigate possible operational disruption...