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Meta CDM front page[1]

Principal Investigator
Dr Lynette Dray

Research Associate
Roger Gardner

Air transportation networks are highly vulnerable to disruptive events. The volcanic ash crisis of 2010 left thousands of passengers stranded across Europe and elsewhere. Heavy snowfall regularly causes chaos in the aviation system, as do other hazards - for example fog, thunderstorms, strikes, systems failures, accidents or terrorism. The economic impact of major disruptive episodes is often measured in billions of dollars. As the global aviation system is still rapidly growing, the effect of these crises on passengers, airports, airlines, freight supply chains and others is likely to increase.

The MetaCDM project (, a collaboration between ENAC, Cambridge and BARCO, seeks to look at how disruptive events were managed in the past, what current approaches work best and how their impact on passengers can be minimised. In particular, Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) has proved useful in reducing delays during everyday operation of airports. Could these concepts be extended to situations with severe disruption? Could other modes of transportation be utilised to mitigate the impacts of a disruptive event, and if so how can representatives of those modes be included in the decision making process? How can technology be utilised to enhance communication in these situations?

The project looks at answering these questions via a three-step process. In the first stage of the project, we examine the existing literature to produce a comprehensive picture of the current state of the art. In the second stage, an extensive series of questionnaires and interviews are carried out with relevant bodies associated with key airports - for example, airport authorities, airlines, security and immigration agencies, taxi and train companies, passenger representatives, hotels and shops.

Finally, we bring together the lessons learned to form a best practice concept to act as a framework for future research and assess the potential economic and environmental impacts of this concept.