27 Feb Graduating in airport CDM

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A graduation project is not only the final step of your education but also a great way to kick-start your career. At To70, graduate students are allowed a lot of freedom and support in shaping their own graduation projects. In this blog, I want to share with you what my experience was like when I graduated as an aviation consulting intern at To70.

To really study this issue, I couldn't just do book research

Collaborative decision making

For my graduation project, I decided on Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM). With A-CDM, high-quality operational data is synchronised and shared among Air Traffic Control, the airport, airlines and ground handlers through a single platform. A-CDM allows stakeholders to make better-informed decisions about how to use limited capacity and available resources more efficiently. As a relatively new concept, there are myriad topics to research and improve. My project would focus on a key piece of A-CDM data called the Target Off Block Time (TOBT).

The TOBT is the time at which the turnaround coordinator thinks an aircraft will be ready for departure. He or she updates the TOBT as information becomes available on the progress of turnaround activities such as catering, cleaning, fuelling and passenger boarding. What makes this process difficult, however, is that most TOBT updates take place in the final phase of the turnaround. These last-minute updates create disruptions to the schedules of other stakeholders, which causes A-CDM to be less efficient than it could be.

Approaching graduation as a consultant

To really study this issue, I couldn’t just do book research; I needed to get into the live operations of an airport. Using To70’s international network, I found ground handling companies at Brussels Airport that were willing to help. Together with the other airport stakeholders, I further specified the scope of my research to match their needs.

I analysed delay code data from my desk in the Hague to get a clear understanding of the current operations, and I also spent a lot of time at Brussels Airport observing their turnaround process and interviewing A-CDM stakeholders. Using those insights, I was able to work out several improvement options and evaluate them with the operational end-users and management. After evaluating the options, the next step was to define the challenges and opportunities from a technical standpoint, as well as the governance perspective that should be kept in mind when making changes to collaborative decision-making at an airport. And finally, I presented my findings to the management of several of the airport’s A-CDM stakeholders.

TO70 is looking for aviation graduates

Graduating while working at to70 challenged me to put my technical and analytic skills to work while at the same time giving me the opportunity to interact with aviation clients and other airport stakeholders. This combination of practical consulting experience turned my graduation research project into an excellent bridge to my current career as a junior aviation consultant at To70!

If you are an upcoming graduate, we are always looking to offer opportunities to talented students. So, don’t hesitate to check out our career page and get in touch!

 

About To70. To70 is one of the world’s leading aviation consultancies, founded in the Netherlands with offices in Europe, Australia, Asia, and Latin America. To70 believes that society’s growing demand for transport and mobility can be met in a safe, efficient, environmentally friendly and economically viable manner. To achieve this, policy and business decisions have to be based on objective information. With our diverse team of specialists and generalists to70 provides pragmatic solutions and expert advice, based on high-quality data-driven analyses. For more information, please refer to www.to70.com.

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Mark Verkerk
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After finishing his master’s degree in Transport, Infrastructure and Logistics at Delft University of Technology with an internship at To70, Mark joined the team as a Junior Consultant in 2018. With a broad background and a passion for aviation, Mark works on a variety of projects related to environmental impact, efficiency, stakeholder management and safety for the Dutch government and a variety of airports.
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