Airport decision-making reaches new heights A European project SPADE has defined, designed and developed strategies for safer, more efficient and environmentally-sound air travel. Climate Change and Environment © Shutterstock As air passengers, we expect a safe and efficient flight to arrive at our destination without delays. For airport stakeholders and policy makers these expectations represent major challenges regarding airport decision-making as well as meeting European aeronautics objectives. Until recently support was lacking for decision-making on airport planning, development and operations. Also missing was any possibility for an integrated impact analysis to measure effectiveness. The SPADE project has therefore developed a computational platform which can support policy and political decision associated with these measures. One important measure of effectiveness involved a close look at a demand- and supply-side analysis. The demand-side survey used interviews with stakeholders from nine international airports in seven EU Member States as well as a stakeholder workshop. In contrast, the supply-side analysis was composed of decision support tools developed from work in the EC projects APRON and OPAL. Eighteen elements describing the system from the users' point of view, use cases, were identified. Strategic and operational use cases provided decision support for low-level and high-level detail tools respectively and used real airport data. Operational use cases assessed the impact of fleet characteristics like traffic increase and capacity bottlenecks on airport operations such as capacity management. For microscopic detail, strategic use scenarios included flight allocations, new security devices and weather forecasting and capacity. The SPADE system provides invaluable tools for airline and airport decision-makers as well as civil aviation authorities. The end-product will be safer, more reliable and efficient air travel for all of us.