• SJU reference # PJ.07-01-01 /Release 2019
  • Stakeholders
  • Benefits Cost-efficiency
    Operational efficiency
  • Status Available for industrialisation/deployment


A delayed flight can be seen as important for several reasons: It may miss an important connection; an airport curfew may come with heavy cost penalties; expiry of crew hours; high passenger compensation; or few scheduled alternatives. Airspace users can share this information with the Network Manager (NM) through the use of the flight delay criticality indicator (FDCI) to help avoid or reduce delays. This solution applies to reactive FDCI flights that are delayed as a result of flow capacity management measures and highlights a preference to avoid more delay or decrease allocated delay where possible.

The FDCI is centrally monitored, traced and reported, and a simple set of agreed rules can be enforced to avoid its abuse. For example, it can only be applied to critical flights and a cap imposed on the number of FDCI requests per airline per period. Several variants of the concept are already used at local level by air navigation service providers and the Network Manager helpdesk, however this SESAR solution brings transparency of information at network level and provides a one-stop-shop for all airspace users.

The concept has been validated through shadow-mode trials using the NM validation platform. A human in the loop exercise included the NM, airline flight dispatcher, ATC flow manager and local traffic manager using different scenarios of traffic load and disruption in the network. The exercises showed that usage of FDCI is beneficial to the airspace user and increased situational awareness for all the stakeholders with an acceptable workload. A cost benefit analysis found airspace users would realise a positive return on investment within five years, based on the application of the solution for 10 critical flights per day at network level.

SESAR recommends establishment of a roadmap to deploy reactive FDCI operationally. Further validation work would help in the development of operational procedures and an initial module to be integrated in the NM eHelpdesk. There are no regulatory or standardisation requirements.


Positive impact on safety

Earlier management of critical flights

Increased situational awareness for all actors