For the first time, Athens International Airport was awarded with European funding under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Programme managed by INEA (Innovation and Networks Executive Agency). We, as ALG, are proud to have been part of this achievement and truly believe this project will place AIA among the efficient European CDM airports.
CEF is a key EU funding instrument to promote growth, jobs and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure investment at European level. In terms of transport, CEF supports projects aiming at removing bottlenecks, bridging missing links in the Core and Comprehensive Network, implementing traffic management systems as well as fostering innovation to improve the use of infrastructure, reduce the environmental impact of transport, enhance energy efficiency and increase safety.
Under this wide context, the 2017 CEF Call addressed Single European Sky related topics, mainly Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Solutions, being one of the priorities of the programme. The proposed Action submitted by AIA is titled “AIA’s evolution into a high-performing node within the European ATM network” and contributes to the achievement of SES by implementing several of the Essential Operational Changes defined in the European ATM Master Plan Edition 2015. The CEF funding represents the needed support for AIA to align its performance and systems capabilities with the European standards and trends, contributing to the achievement of SES objectives in terms of performance and operational improvements.
At the same time, this Action is aligned with the Pilot Common Project (PCP) regulation (EU Reg. 716/2014) published in 2014, mandating the implementation of the of six first ATM functionalities in a specific geographical scope within a defined timeline. AIA does not belong to the 25 major EU airports listed under the mandate of the PCP, but this does not prevent it to implement some these ATM functionalities improving airport operations and fostering the integration within the rest of the EU network, for the benefits of all its passengers.
Starting from the current situation of AIA as one of the top 30 European airports in passenger traffic characterised by high seasonality and being close to its current terminal capacity limit of 26 million passengers, ALG consultants have tailored the necessary activities and tasks to improve operations’ efficiency and prepare the airport for the increased forecasted traffic and the new airlines frequencies and destinations. The Action is based on a 5-years (2019-2023) coherent plan and addresses the implementation of new and advanced concepts of airport operations, information sharing and collaborative performance management.
The new concepts included in the scope of the Action will allow AIA to go beyond Airport Operations Plan (AOP) and Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) concepts, to achieve enhanced operational efficiency and enable optimum use of available capacity, therefore achieve optimum performance at airport level and contribute to enhance performance at network level. This action aims to bring benefits to AIA, but also to all airport stakeholders, in multiple areas of performance, aiming at achieving 3% reduction in terms of delay per flight at the airport, taxi-out time savings of 7% leading to environmental benefits, 2% increased predictability, more efficient use of capacity and ultimately improved passenger experience.
ALG has provided guidance and support to AIA to develop and shape a strong proposal, from the scope definition based on the current needs of the airport to the detailed technical, financial and economical details of the proposal. The consultant’s wide knowledge of the current European airport solutions and best practices together with the A-CDM momentum leaded by motivated and positive thinking AIA’s leaders represent the key of success of this proposed Action.
AIA’s proposal stood out among the 25 eligible proposals presented under the “Other projects” category under the 2017 SESAR Call, together with 12 additional projects. The evaluation committee evaluated very positively the proposal Action in the all four main aspects of evaluation:
- Very good RELEVANCE it addresses the objectives of the call through the implementation of A-CDM technology;
- High EU and socio-economic IMPACT;
- Good MATURITY receiving the corresponding approvals implementing a mature technology;
- Excellent QUALITY with a very complete and coherent planning and reasonable resources.
The overall budget/total eligible cost of the Action was estimated at €4.5 million. Following INEA’s favourable opinion and pending the European Commission’s final decision, AIA’s Action was deemed eligible for a grant of up to €2.250.000 (out of the €290 million budget), which corresponds to an EU support of the maximum eligible 50% percentage.
We are confident that this successful cooperation with AIA represents a first step into a fruitful business relationship as well as a strong story for ALG’s record.
*The official INEA results have been published at the following link: https://ec.europa.eu/inea/sites/inea/files/2017_cef_sesar_call_brochure_20180926.pdf