Bilbao Airport is already operating as an “Advanced Tower”, a Eurocontrol flight management mechanism, which will be in the test phase for at least the next six months. Thus, once this period is over, it will be integrated into the European air traffic management network, which will result in a better use of airspace and will favour flight punctuality. This process involves the exchange of information between the systems of the Airport Operations Centre, the Control Tower – managed by ENAIRE – and Eurocontrol, the body which, among other functions, monitors and manages air traffic flows in Europe, following the existing demand and the capacity available at any given time.
By improving the quality of the information, the capacity to predict traffic behaviour also increases, which, in turn, results in a general increase in punctuality. In this sense, air regulations – flight restrictions that are usually established according to an initial forecast – will affect a smaller number of operations, since the airport’s actual traffic will be taken as a reference. The process carried out in order to obtain the certificate represents an important effort for the staff of Bilbao Airport, Aena and ENAIRE (air navigation services manager in Spain).
The “Advanced Tower” certification is the first step towards the A-CDM (Airport Collaborative Decision Making) concept and allows Bilbao Airport to position itself on the European map of those aerodromes that exchange information directly with Eurocontrol through this or other systems. Thanks to this advance, and through the application of rigorous procedures, all users (airlines, handling agents, controllers…) will obtain considerable improvements both in their daily work and in their own interaction with Eurocontrol, optimising times and the use of airspace. In addition to Bilbao Airport, which has been working on its implementation since last year, the airports of Alicante-Elche, Valencia, Málaga-Costa del Sol, Ibiza, Menorca, Tenerife Norte-Ciudad de la Laguna, Tenerife Sur, Gran Canaria, César Manrique-Lanzarote and Fuerteventura have this certificate.