Charles de Gaulle Airport 2020

Published on Tuesday 20 February 2018

Addressing the congested TMA issue in major European airports is a priority expectation for aircraft operators. With 1500 handled flights each day and traffic demand being particularly strong during peak hours, Paris-CDG is facing a major operational performance challenge.


CDG2020, a major collaborative decision making undertaking. Increasing peak hour arrival throughput of the Paris-CDG platform by 10 to 15%.

Augmentation de la capacité de Paris CDG
Crédits : Tous droits réservés - DGAC

It is time to draw up an ambitious plan set to deliver capacity improvements at peak hours while at the same time maintaining the highest level of safety and alleviating the impacts on the environment. The success of such plan relies on the participation and commitment of all airport operational actors as it is essential to reinforce airside and ATC collaboration to meet up the objectives as set. The CDG2020 strategic program is now ready for implementations.

CDG2020 collaborative working methods highlights

CDG2020 méthode de travail collaborative
Crédits : Tous droits réservés - DGAC

The roadmap details innovative and tangible projects to be timely achieved and improvements to be sought in all areas :

  • Safety & performance driven process,
  • Environment.
  • Runway & airport infrastructures,
  • Taxiing & departures,
  • Arrivals,
  • Adverse conditions.

Any further questions, don’t hesitate to ask:

High Intensity Runway Operations

High Intensity Runway Operations

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Plan the most appropriate exit :

  • Least time spent on runway
  • Not always the best shortest landing distance
  • Consider best braking strategy - Don't be overambitious
  • Taxi routing should not affect decision

On the runway

  • Always execute a normal landing
  • Be flexible - Adapt to the actual conditions
  • Adjust braking to exit at appropriate speed

The runway is only vacated after the entire aircraft has passed the red RWY ahead markings.

RECAT EU deployment

RECAT EU deployment at Paris CDG & Le Bourget, a first in Europe.

From 3 to 6 wake turbulence categories to allow finetuned separations to be applied considering the wake vortex generated and the resistance of the follower.

Understanding the RECAT EU process

With the modernisation of airlines’ fleets and the boost in technology, ICAO wake vortex separation rules needed to be updated to streamline number of over conservative separations. As a matter of fact, each current category covers a too wider range of different sized airplanes. Including the wingspan along with the certified MTOW (Maximum Take Off Weight) to define the wake turbulence categories permits to deliver more accurate separations between pairs of planes. Separation minimas will thus take into account not only the wake vortex generated but also the resistance of the following aircraft. The core of the RECAT EU (European wake vortex recategorisation) concept is to improve runway throughput in major European platforms. Capacity benefits will be more important during periods of high demand for airports with heavy traffic such as Paris CDG.

Vidéo - RECAT-EU, optimising Europe's airports capacity

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The aim of the re-categorisation of the ICAO Wake Turbulence Separation Minima (RECAT) is to safely increase capacity at airports by redefining wake turbulence categories and their associated separation minima.

In Europe, RECAT-EU divides the ICAO Medium and Heavy categories into two categories each, and also creates a Super Heavy category for the Airbus A380.

In October 2014, following a thorough stakeholder consultation and detailed review of the safety assessment, the European Aviation Safety Agency confirmed that the RECAT-EU safety case is solid.

The first deployment of RECAT-EU is now planned for Paris-Charles De Gaulle in 2015.

Comparison of aircraft size between AIRBUS A320 and EMBRAER ERJ-145

MTOW A320 : 73,5t
MTOW E145 : 48,5t

Both A320 and E145 are in the current Medium ICAO category, whilst their wing spans have a difference of more than 12 metres. Therefore, they suffer from over conservative separations when following another aircraft.

The 10th October 2014, the European Aviation Safety Agency confirmed that Eurocontrol’s safety case report provided the assurance that the RECAT-EU wake turbulence separation scheme could be used by Member States as a basis to update current schemes.

Main impacts for arrivals to Paris CDG

“Upper medium” vs “upper heavy”

Considering the traffic structure at Paris CDG, the main identified change will come from a better integration of two dominant categories, respectively the “upper medium” category (i.e. A320, B737max, etc) and the “upper heavy” category (i.e. B 777, A 340, A 330, etc). RECAT EU will allow to reduce separation by 1NM.

Operating a whole new separation minima matrix at Paris CDG is a major operational challenge that has to be achieved inside a trustworthy implementation method wherein all actors commit to proactively participate. RECAT EU relies on a thorough safety case and accurate adjusted regulatory frame.
The successful implementation of PARIS CDG’s RECAT EU will demonstrate the benefits of collaboration to solve the challenges of traffic and congestion in busy airspace.

Improving safety

Safety benefits are at the top of the list, particularly taking into account the better integration of light aircraft specificities and differences in tonnage. With this more accurate wake turbulence categorisation, aircraft will be even better protected when sequenced in the various traffic mix of Paris CDG.

Combined with optimised runway occupancy time and operational acceptance amongst the aeronautical community, this new concept should improve runways throughput on arrival.

Further steps

RECAT EU is part of a much wider list of projects, coherent between them all and included in the CDM@CDG2020 performance roadmap. The implementation of this roadmap will allow a significant enhancement of the safety and environmental performance at CDG that will lead to a planned increase of runway capacity during peak hours from 73 arrivals/hour to 82 arrival/hours by 2020.

In the near future, fine-tuned time based separations on departure will also be implemented allowing to deliver the full potential of RECAT EU’s expected capacity benefits.

RWSL to reduce further the number of runway incursions at Paris-CDG

RunWay Status Lights implementation, a first in Europe

RWSL is a fully automatic, autonomous and safety advisory high-technology system designed to prevent aircrews and vehicle drivers from runway incursions, or to reduce their severity by notably improving situational awareness. These visual aids come as a complement to the compulsory ATC clearances for runway penetration, and other existing means on the platform (wig wags, “RWY AHEAD” markings, stop bars in LVP conditions)

Crédits : DGAC - All rights reserved

When lights go off, don’t enter the runway or initiate take off, and wait for ATC clearance.

RWSL has been declared fully operational since October 24th 2016 for runway 09R/27L at Paris-CDG. Operational evaluation for runway 08L/26R starts February 20th 2017.

Aircrews download your RWSL crew briefing below

What MUST be remembered with RWSL

“Since it has been commissioned at Paris CDG, RWSL has proven that its implementation is a major improvement for runway safety.
However, at several occasions, we observed that pilots were mistaking Runway status lights with controlled stop bars or “follow the green” lights like at London Heathrow. For passengers and crews safety, it is essential to understand how RWSL works, to know how to react when red lights turn on or off. Indeed, with an average of 600 runway crossings per day, it can happen that, due to an error or a misunderstanding, a runway incursion occurs.
Aside from these events that need to be corrected, we can see a decrease in the number of runway incursions with this new safety barrier. Moreover, we have noted that for the remaining incursions, the severity was lower when pilots knew how to react to the activation of RWSL red lights.” Safety and quality of service unit Paris-CDG

RWSL has proven its efficiency in case of human error

Image radar sol Paris CDG
Crédits : DGAC - Tous droits réservés

“We landed in CDG on 09L, vacated and were cleared straight away to cross 09R via K6. As we were about to enter 09R via K6, red lights being part of the RWSL systems (RELs) came on. We stopped at K6, set parking brake, saw a take-off in progress and asked for clarifications. ATC apologized” Extract of an Air Safety Report – Aug 2016

Better apprehend the RWSL system

Have a close look at when the runway status lights come on and off on the Eurocontrol tutorial Video.

Vidéo - Scenario 2: Multiple Line-Ups Take-Off and Crossing Scenario (Under Nominal Conditions)

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RWSL lights turning on and off according to different situations

The main purpose of the RWSL system is to indicate to aircrews and vehicle drivers when it is unsafe to cross, enter or take off from a runway. For that purpose, it uses both primary and secondary surveillance radar to dynamically turn on/off the lights.

Testimonies of RWSL partners

Crédits : DGAC - Tous droits réservés

Franck Goldnadel, Executive Director of Groupe ADP, Director of Airport Operations and Managing Director of Paris-CDG airport: “The RWSL was entering service H24 on the Northern inner runway (09R/27L) in June 2016. It will also be deployed on the Southern inner runway (08L/26R) before the end of March 2017. The RWSL system improves significantly the situational awareness of pilots and vehicle drivers.’’

Air France: “I joined the last operational test campaign of the RWSL system. My feedback was that the system appeared very mature and able to provide immediate added value to the existing safety nets. I was particularly impressed by the clarity of the visual indications enabling easy appropriation of the system logics by operators. In the past, I had to face several runway incursion issues and I am convinced that RWSL will deliver a major safety improvement in addressing this specific risk.”

EasyJet: “Considering the complexity of the PARIS CDG airport and the number of movements, RWY incursions have always been an identified present safety risk. We have seen recently a great safety improvement at this airport by the implementation of the Runway Status Lights System on RWY 27L/09R. This additional safety protection system is in our world of aviation considered as being effective and efficient. It significantly decreases the risk of Runway Incursion. The RWSL system makes it safer for our pilots, crews and passengers.”

Maurice Georges, DSNA CEO: “This project is the result of close cooperation between all of the platform partners: Groupe ADP installed a special lighting system, DSNA modified the radar surveillance sytem and the airline companies assisted with the operational validation phase. EUROCONTROL’s participation in the safety studies was also a great value. And we appreciate that the the European Commission has cofinanced DSNA for the final deployment. RWSL at Paris-CDG has already proved its value!”

The RunWay Status Lights (RWSL) system was the winner in the category “Safety and efficiency on the runway and final approach” of the IHS Jane’s ATC Awards at the World ATM Congress in Madrid on 7 March 2017.
Discover all of the 2016 IHS Jane’s ATC awards by clicking on the link below.

Crédits : DGAC - Tous droits réservés

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