Plans to implement collaborative decision-making tools at European airports have fallen far short of targets as a result of technical, as well as economic, problems.
Under an action plan initially put together by air traffic management organisation Eurocontrol and airports representative ACI Europe, the collaborative tool - known as A-CDM - was supposed to have been fully implemented in 10 airports by the end of 2011.
However, during the Airport Exchange event in Abu Dhabi ACI Europe admitted only four - Frankfurt, Munich, Paris and Brussels - had managed to complete the work.
A-CDM aims to provide real-time sharing of operational information by airport users - including airport operators, air traffic control and airlines - allowing more efficient flight preparation and allocation of resources, generating fewer delays.
"Several external factors have slowed down implementation at some airports," said ACI Europe.
The organisation pointed out that "difficulties" in updating an integrating information technology system - which it describes as a "crucial enabler" - have held up the effort, while the financial crisis has also had an impact.
"There is still more work to be done and the level of engagement and commitment among European airports remains steadfast, despite challenging conditions," said ACI Europe director general Olivier Jankovec.
He said another 22 airports were "engaged in the process" and set a target to implement A-CDM at eight additional airports in 2012. This would effectively bring 400 million passengers within the reach of A-CDM each year, he added.
Eurocontrol director general David McMillan said A-CDM provided improvements in performance, capacity and predictability, without heavy capital expenditure.