TITAN The Book – Going Beyond A-CDM

On 22/04/2013, in Bookshelf, by steve

TITAN_The_bookTITAN was an EC 7th Framework project which looked at ways of further optimizing the turnaround, a kind of Airport CDM on steroids. During the project it became very clear that although Airport Collaborative Decision Making had been around for quite some time already, a lot of people still did not have a good understanding what it was all about… In the circumstances, talking about further enhancing A-CDM looked like a pretty hopeless exercise, certainly outside the relatively small circle of those in the know.

Since TITAN was also talking about involving new, often off-airport partners, in the optimization process, the need to provide good, easily accessible and understandable knowledge about the subject of CDM in general and TITAN in particular became even more evident.

Our proposal to write a book on CDM and TITAN, in a style that is more enjoyable than the usual rather dry technical material, was accepted and after three months of hard work, the 75 page book was finally put on the table and accepted.

On behalf of my co-author Ana Saez and myself, I am now very pleased to make TITAN The Book available for download here.

If you are interested in a little CDM history and the elements of airport CDM, you will find all this in Part 1. Part 2 talks about how the A-CDM concept can be extended in the new ATM environment and here you can read about the exciting new world of trajectory based operation, SWIM and many other things that make use of collaborative decision making. We also touch on why the focus is on the turnaround… This then leads us into Part 3 in which TITAN is introduced and we learn how events far from the airport can actually have a great impact on the aircraft turnaround and why it is wrong to leave these out from the picture.

We have also included a high level operational scenario in which a passenger is followed from his hotel room all the way to the aircraft seat and the working of the TITAN services is explained.

I have tried to make the style of the book a bit more relaxed than the customary CDM texts in the hope that it will be attractive also for the casual aviation reader.

Get your copy here… and please send us feedback after you have looked at it.

Happy reading!


TITAN extension – what is happening?

On 26/02/2013, in TITAN, by steve

As reported earlier, the TITAN project has been extended by three months and the extra time is being used to conduct additional dissemination activities. Among these, a more detailed video on the TITAN concept is being produced and a publication entitled TITAN The Book is being written. This latter takes the reader from the early days of collaborative decision making (CDM) through a description of the new air traffic management environment’s most important features to a description of the TITAN concept and its practical application. The style is more popular than scientific and the intention is to make CDM and TITAN related information in the wider sense of the word accessible also to readers not directly concerned with this particular field of air traffic management.

A series of workshops have also been organized in Munich, Cologne, Budapest, Milan and Brussels with the aim of helping the industry learn more about what TITAN is and what additional benefits it can bring to airports what have already implemented Airport CDM (A-CDM).

Watch this space for a report on the conclusions of the workshops and access to the news video and a link to download TITAN The Book.



Air transport growth and the privacy rules… something has to give.

On 12/12/2012, in CDM, by steve

Information is power. Shared information is efficiency. The right information, at the right place and the right time is what air traffic management of the future needs.

Whether one reads material on collaborative decision making (CDM), system-wide information management (SWIM) or any number of other papers and articles about ATM, the need for quality information, properly shared, keeps coming back. It is not an exaggeration to say that information is one of the pillars that supports efficient and safe air traffic management everywhere.

When the concept of collaborative decision making was first defined in the United States, we faced a lot of opposition from one of the main beneficiaries of CDM, the airlines themselves. They were afraid that sensitive information would fall into the hands of their competitors, putting them at a disadvantage. Assurances that sensitive information would be de-identified and that there would be no danger of sensitive stuff getting into the wring hands did not cut it. They were still reluctant to play. Since this reluctance blocked the sharing of some of the most essential data, a different approach was required. The US CDM group set out to examine every last bit of information classified sensitive (and hence not shared) to establish whether the classification was justified. The idea was that if we could show the owners of the data that they were protecting something that was not sensitive at all, they might change their minds about sharing it.

The slot constrained airport in Philadelphia was losing a lot of capacity because of empty slots created by one of the incumbent airlines frequently cancelling flights but not announcing it to anyone lest a competitor grab their passengers. So the slots were left open until the last minute and when there was no aircraft to fill them, they were lost and so was a part of the airport’s capacity. The airline concerned considered the data on flight cancellations competition sensitive and would not share it with anyone except the smallest circle who could not be avoided. It took some convincing, but in the end they agreed that even if they announced their cancellations in the morning, no competitor could possibly benefit from this knowledge in ways not already available anyhow… From then on, the empty slots taking off in Philly became very scarce and capacity was restored. It was an important lesson. Information is often treated in ways that far exceed its actual level of sensitivity and by remedying this, information sharing can be boosted substantially.

Now, a couple of decades down the road from that famous Philadelphia case, we are once again facing a very similar problem. Privacy rules…

Click here to read the full article


TITAN – Questions and Answers

On 30/11/2012, in TITAN, by steve

With the TITAN project now officially closed, we decided to bring you a set of questions and answers, in case you want a quick overview of what TITAN was all about. You can find all titan documents on the official website here. The TITAN video is available here.

What is TITAN? – Turnaround Integration in Trajectory and Network (TITAN) is an FP7 funded EU collaborative project that developed an advanced operational concept for the turnaround process to improve predictability, flexibility, efficiency and cost effectiveness and to provide common situational awareness to the actors involved in the process.

How does TITAN relate to A-CDM? – TITAN is aligned with and complements A-CDM (Airport Collaborative Decision Making) as it aims for an even better management of the turnaround. TITAN will use the procedures and rules established for A-CDM supplemented by those specifically developed for the turnaround. Besides the A-CDM milestones, a set of turnaround-specific milestones have been defined to support the monitoring of the turnaround process.

How does TITAN relate to SESAR? – The TITAN operational concept is not only compatible with but in many ways is complementary to the SESAR Concept of Operations. It addresses those details that were not specifically elaborated in the SESAR CONOPS.

What are the most important new features that TITAN incorporates? – For the first time ever, the aircraft turnaround is described in a process-based, service oriented manner. The concept is built around the principles of Trajectory Based Operations (TBO) and makes full use of System Wide Information Management (SWIM) if available, while being compatible also with the legacy environment.

Click here to read the full article


Airport Information Network (AIN) – What is this?

On 29/10/2012, in Buzzwords explained, by steve

The environment and circumstances surrounding aircraft moving about on the ground at an airport is nothing short of puzzling. An almost random mix of legacy technology and procedures and state of the art innovation, an airport is a place where aircraft, already out of their element, meet special challenges and unique dangers.

On average, there are in excess of two noteworthy runway incursions in Europe every day. Yet, even at the few places they have been implemented, we are still working almost exclusively with systems that warn of impending incursions in the control tower rather than directly in the cockpit! Strange thinking that stems mainly from the cost of equipping aircraft with means of receiving the information carrying the warning directly in the cockpit…

But moving further in from the runway, negotiating the taxiway system is no easy task and some airports, like Paris CDG or Chicago ORD, are notoriously difficult to taxi on due to the complexity of the taxi routes. While most of our cars are equipped with on board navigation systems that can take us to specific house numbers in most big cities, pilots still rely in most aircraft on paper charts and blue, green and red lights and taxiway markings and signs to find their stand. At least things are slowly changing in this respect and aircraft costing hundreds of millions will finally get the ground navigation capability cars have had for almost a decade now.

If we move a bit more towards the terminal, we cross an important boundary. The runways and even the taxiway system are under the purview of air traffic control at most airports (though this is not universal and there are places where the taxiways are actually under the control of the airport itself). The aprons on the other hand are the domain of what is commonly termed “ramp control”, usually run by the airport.

In this article we will cast an eye on this critical and often messy area to see what is cooking there to make airline operations more efficient.

The apron is unique in as much as multitudes of aircraft are parked there, surviving on ground power and surrounded by people and ground service vehicles, all rushing to the moment when the doors are finally closed and they are ready to start engines for the next flight. There is also a constant stream of arriving aircraft keen to move into empty or just vacated stands to start their own process of turnaround.

Click here to read the full article


The Principles of the TITAN Tool GUI

On 26/05/2012, in TITAN, by steve

The current turnaround process involves many different entities performing many different operations and letting much inefficiency to arise. This may be attributed to lacking common situational awareness; inadequate information sharing and fragmented data flows. As a result readjustment of aircraft’s target off-block time is often unavoidable. By improving common situational awareness at the airport level, delay propagation from one turnaround sub-process to another or even to the turnaround process of another aircraft can be solved timely.

The TITAN concept addresses turnaround delay causes by recognizing that the turnaround process, which includes relevant landside processes too, is an integral part of the aircraft’s business trajectory. Such delays may arise from:
– poor information sharing;
– planning deviation;
– demanding security processes.

The TITAN concept takes advantage of Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) and System Wide Information Management (SWIM) concepts to combine information from multiple sources. In this way communication between turnaround stakeholders is getting improved enabling them to improve their own planning and execution by knowing when relevant milestones have been met. The TITAN tool is expected to be installed in an airport where CDM is already implemented; by connecting it to CDM systems it receives messages as input and sends messages when appropriate.

Click here to read the full article


Where CDM Has Gone

On 06/05/2012, in CDM, by steve

Although a lot of people and projects all over the world tend to lay claim to being the originators of the CDM (Collaborative Decision Making) concept, this is something that came from the USA and it was originally an airline initiative which was later picked up and embraced also by the FAA and various airports in North America. One would think that CDM thrives in the US, what with all these years of continuous development…

Of course a lot had happened in the CDM arena since those early days but it seems the CDM culture is still not as deeply anchored in everyday operations as it should and could be.

I got suspicious when I saw an article in Jane’s Airport Review of May 2012, entitled “US addresses irregular operations”. It talks about new guidance published by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) which airports can use to develop their contingency plans required by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The document in question is called Guidebook for Airport Irregular Operations (IROPS) Contingency Planning. It is meant for commercial airports that need to develop, update or evaluate their plans. This sounds like a good thing…

On reading further, however, the article states that “the guidebook seeks to address the issue that US airports and airlines have lacked effective coordination to serve passengers during severe delays and other contingencies.

Hmm… interesting. Of course we know that CDM has been found very useful for dealing with decision making in normal circumstances but why did it fail in irregular situations? That it did fail is beyond question. The example given in the article is the situation encountered in October 2011 when a severe snowstorm in the northeastern United States obliged airlines to divert to Bradley International in Connecticut. Apparently the airlines concerned did activate their own contingency plans but did not talk to other airlines or the airport for that matter… Consequence: nobody was really aware just how crowded the airport was becoming.

Click here to read the full article


Standard Inputs for EUROCONTROL Cost Benefit Analyses

On 26/03/2012, in Bookshelf, by steve

All right, I will be the first to admit that creating cost-benefit analyses is not my favorite occupation on sunny afternoons. On the other hand, my company had been the lead for numerous projects aimed at developing the CBA for things like Collaborative Decision Making, among others. As such, I know the value of standard inputs that save you a lot of work by not having to search for the appropriate values which, after all, are the same in most ATM related activities.

EUROCONTROL has published, and keeps regularly updated, a cute collection of such standard inputs available in the form of a downloadable pdf file.

Even if you are not directly involved in cost-benefit activities, keeping this book in the library of your smartphone or iPad is a good idea. How many times have you not wondered about the price of a minute of delay for example? Consulting this book will tell you that and much more.

Highly reommended.

Download your copy here!


The pessimism of an optimist

On 21/11/2011, in Viewpoint, by cleo

Some readers of Roger-Wilco asked me why we tend to report on problems so often. The answer is simple. Because almost nobody else seems to be doing it.

If you read the official communiqués from various projects, they do tend to project a much brighter picture and if you read only those, you will sleep well. All is fine in the world of ATM. I am not saying that the official sources of information are saying things that are not true. But what they often do is leave out the context or simply ignore certain pertinent facts.

Let me give you a few recent examples.

SESAR has split its plan for implementing things into three packages, IP1 to IP3. Everyone is now raving over IP1 and the super effort going into realizing it. Great. What is rarely added is that the content of IP1 is nothing more than what should have happened under the previous European project, ATM2000+ anyway and some of the elements got delayed by 3+ years because everything stopped while the world was waiting for the SESAR miracle to happen…

A while ago the folks in the FAB Europe Central announced that airlines will be saving millions in fuel due to the more direct routes now formally agreed for night operations. What they did not add was the simple fact that most aircraft have been flying those direct routings at night for many years now on an ad hoc basis and these were now formalized. Sure, being able to plan for the shorter route brings some savings but to claim credit for the millions that were already being saved is not exactly how these things should be communicated.

SESAR has some 300 projects running… When was the last time you read in their official communications how far those projects have come and whether or not they are on schedule?

Click here to read the full article


A-CDM eLearning Modules from EUROCONTROL

On 14/11/2011, in CDM, by steve

The free eLearning modules introduce Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) and the challenges involved in introducing A-CDM in practice.

The first module, “Introduction to Airport CDM” is dedicated to anyone who would like to get an overview of what Airport CDM is, and is ideally suited for Managers with limited time. Detailed modules explaining the various elements of Airport CDM dedicated to managers implementing CDM at their airport is available for everyone here, after registration.

Also for the first time this eLearning course addresses all operational staff via specific modules dedicated to each airport partner. These include modules for airport operators, aerodrome controllers, aircraft operators’ ground staff, pilots and ground handlers. Registration is required but otherwise the modules are available for anyone.

Interviews of operational staff were carried out at their working positions. These interviews refer to the CDM milestone processes at their airport and with examples taken out of daily tasks, demonstrate how CDM changed their working practices and helped them to become more efficient.

The A-CDM eLearning course is aimed to become a useful tool for the challenging task of communicating CDM principles and the training of operational staff, related to their specific role in a CDM environment; helping them to develop a proper understanding so as to make the required cultural changes.


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