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Airport Capacity and Quality meeting

The European Observatory on Airport Capacity and Quality held its 11th Plenary Meeting on 12 June in Brussels, gathering the European Commission, Eurocontrol, representatives of 11 member states and nine industry associations. The mission of this formal EU expert group, established in 2017, is to assist the European Commission in addressing  airport capacity and quality challenges.

The meeting focussed on presenting the status of the Air Connectivity Index that is a representation of how well/badly regions in the EU are connected to the rest of the world. To determine connectivity, four indicators are used: 1) population (NUTS regions, i.e. nomenclature of territorial units for statistics, as defined by Eurostat) and reachable population, 2) travel time (door-to-door concept; the assumptions used are the following: max 90 minutes drive time from the region’s population centre upon departure or after arrival of a flight, 30 minutes time after arrival of a flight before starting to drive to an end destination, connections in transit between 50 minutes and 300 minutes, etc), 3) flight choice (number of direct flights per day) and number of carriers and 4) quality (direct flight or not, low-cost/scheduled/charter, business-friendly schedule).

David Marsh (Head of Unit, Forecast & Network Intelligence Unit, Eurocontrol), presented the enhanced version of the tool (the demo of which was introduced at the 10th Plenary Meeting of the Observatory in December 2017), by presenting the key elements of the users’ guide and gave online examples. In a nutshell, the key new elements are: data is stored in cloud allowing fast access to historical data, connectivity with third countries measured and possibility to download data to Excel. Train and coach services are not yet included in the current version because no robust data on schedules are available. This however is expected to be - partially - solved once member states start reporting on train schedules (end of 2019), then this feature can be added. An extension to upload 2015-2016 data is also expected (as now only 2017-2018 data are available). Members welcomed the changes and were asked to test the tool (accessible here: and to send written comments and observation to EC and Eurocontol by 15 September 2019.