Implementing A-CDM: a great preparation is half of the success

By Jean Luc Devisscher
25th Oct, 2022

One of the good things of COVID is that it made a lot of airports understand the clear need to manage airport operations and stakeholders differently and in most occasions they also had the time to reflect.

With energy costs soaring there is now more than ever a big need to make sure we abandon useless activities at the airside and beyond, which means looking into how to create airside operations overall much more efficiently.

A-CDM is without a doubt one of the key aspects to make airport operations more efficient. Make stakeholders work better together avoids a lot of useless activities and it guarantees that communication between stakeholders can be optimized.

But you don’t buy A-CDM off the shelf and even if an implementation can run smoothly you need to be prepared, you need to involve all stakeholders, understand how they currently work, with what tools and with what limitations. At EMMA Systems we have approached an A-CDM implementation quite differently, we don’t discuss platforms and solutions before we have the full operational picture and this we obtain through a Gap Analysis exercise.

All stakeholders are reunited, first to get a good feeling of what A-CDM is about, before discussing the current situation of working, the bottlenecks different users see and have to deal with, how each and every one deals with unforeseen events and informs others and so much more.

The Gap Analysis is the basis for a full understanding of what A-CDM should address so all stakeholders can work together in a more productive manner and with clear processes in mind. A-CDM is all about turn-around management but is nothing without a good preparation that makes all stakeholders understand what is being addressed, what needs to change and what is (the impact of) their role.

A gap analysis usually consists of a workshop that also explains the A-CDM concept and if followed by a series of discussions with stakeholders to understand how they work, how they feel things can be improved, systems being used, etc… this analysis than leads to a report that can be further fine -tuned by all and the Operations Director in the review phase.

The gap analysis is the basis for the adaptation of the ConOps of the airport before all recommendations and inputs are used to define the final A-CDM implementation and platform.

Just like every airport is not the same, the final A-CDM implementation, milestones, ways of working will not be the same. To be effective, a solution needs to match the complexity of operations of the actual airport where it’s implemented.

This is why at EMMA Systems we focus on fully understanding the operational side before even discussing platform or implementation. Understanding the basics and making sure everyone understands what is critical and what needs to be addressed through the A-CDM concept and later on, the platform is key to its success

Many airports still refer to the A-CDM implementation done decades ago to illustrate the progress they now still make with regards to sustainability and the adherence to the agreed (and evolved) turn-around KPI’s. That can only be if the foundation was solid and the A-CDM process becomes a living one that is regularly fine-tuned.

Talking and understanding is the basis for improvements in every aspect of our life and work and for a successful A-CDM this is no different. You cannot change anything without a full understanding of how people currently work and work together, that’s the basis.

Interested in seeing how we address an A-CDM implementation or doing a free of charge Gap analysis? Contact us via