Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) is the process of data sharing whereby airports, airlines, other stakeholders, and the air navigation service provider (e.g., FAA) share information to make operational decisions. Although airlines and the FAA have considerable experience in the use of CDM dating back to the 1990s, airports in the United States (U.S.) have not typically been direct participants. With the advent of surface management systems, high fidelity surveillance, and enhanced means of information exchange, airports have started to play a more direct role in CDM. However, there are challenges in defining the relevant data, methods for sharing, and common terminology and the FAA has established working groups to address these CDM challenges.
Large airports have found surface CDM programs useful in managing aircraft movements. CDM can enhance gate management, ground service equipment (GSE) coordination, deicing operations, special events, and tarmac delays. Smaller airports can also benefit by participating in regional CDM programs that can augment their IROPS plans and improve their situational awareness.
Despite these advancements, many airports are still not aware of what CDM is, the different ways it can enhance their regular and irregular operations, and how to pursue implementation.