Here Is Why Operational Efficiency Matters More Than Ever During COVID-19

By Jean Luc Devisscher
8th December, 2020

The times when airports and airlines struggled with airport capacity constraints, long taxi-out/taxi-in times or the limited availability of gate positions seems like a thing from the past.

As per EUROCONTROL’s five-year forecast, the impact of a vaccine introduced in 2021 will be substantial. EUROCONTROL predicts traffic to move back to 73% of pre-COVID levels in 2021. Growth is expected to catch up with 2019 levels by 2024 with traffic levels expected to be at 103%.

While this recently published report – which only focuses on Europe – creates a lot of hope for future recovery, we can already see domestic travel in the US and Asia picking up again, a fresh glimpse of hope in an otherwise bleak 2020.

Several airports have put expansion plans on hold while investments in stands, terminals and new facilities have been put under a magnifying glass. Going forward, airports will need to create long-term efficiency on-site and between airport stakeholders.

How can airports utilize the current airport infrastructure so that certain investments can be delayed or cancelled? How can they create a new pact between the stakeholders to better collaborate together so the path to recovery can be made financially rewarding? Now is the time that airport stakeholders need to take the right decisions to create lasting synergies and work together more closely.

One of these decisions is related to the creation of a truly collaborative decision-making process and system. What was the situation pre-COVID? What were the KPIs of all stakeholders and where do changes need to happen so that less time can be lost during taxiing, at the apron or with all the vehicles on the ground?

As EUROCONTROL has illustrated, the implementation of an A-CDM concept can create important savings. A-CDM not only reduces taxi time (and thus fuel costs) but it leads to better punctuality in terms of departure and arrival, creates more transparency within ground handling activities and is critical towards activating a faster recovery plan after an unforeseen disruption.

Implementing an A-CDM concept is one thing but creating a platform that reports back in realtime on the performance of the airport is what the future is all about. One dashboard accessible by all stakeholders so they can take the necessary steps to improve their performance and contribute to the overall efficiency per airplane movement is what saves time, drives down costs, supports sustainable operation and keeps passenger satisfaction levels high.

This is where EMMA fits in. We have transformed A-CDM concepts into an easy-to-use platform that can be made available in record time and as a SaaS product following a Pay as you Grow model. This is the ideal solution to implement in times with lesser budgets, still allowing airports to immediately enjoy the benefits on the efficiency gains it brings.