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The 2050+ Airport

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Infrastructure Node
Total project cost
€2 678 340
EU Contribution
€2 077 829
Project website
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Connected and automated transport (CAT)
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Infrastructure (INF)
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues,
Environmental/Emissions aspects,
Deployment planning/Financing/Market roll-out
Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Call for proposal
Link to CORDIS
Background & Policy context

With growing populations and consumption rates, air traffic in Europe is expected to grow rapidly towards 2050, particularly as more people outside the continent become increasingly able to travel. However, this growth will be faced with dwindling resources, more expensive fossil fuels and stricter environmental expectations, requiring a strong vision for how the airports of the future will operate. While EU-led projects such as Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) and Clean Sky are already addressing growth expectations up to 2050, there is a need to put in place radical solutions for airport operation beyond this milestone.

With this in mind, 'The 2050+ Airport' (2050AP), a recent EU-funded project, investigated revolutionary solutions to prepare airports for 2050 and beyond


The 2050+ project aimed to prepare airports for 2050 and beyond by creating a concept development methodology (CDM) that would ultimately:

  • Enable 90% of European travellers to complete their intra-European door-to-door journeys within 4 hours
  • Promote cost effectiveness through low operating costs and optimal revenue
  • Develop climate neutral operations and low sound pollution

Through the development of different airport concepts, the project would demonstrate what a future airport would look like when taking one of the areas as the leading objective. It would also show the benefits and challenges of the different concepts and the trade-offs between the different areas to be made. This would include descriptions of the interface between the aircraft and the ground and the new principles for the airport layout including intermodal connections. 


To achieve its aims, the project team analysed a baseline reference airport and identified all operations, processes and bottlenecks that need to be improved. It then defined the methodology needed to develop the concepts and worked on validating them. The latter involved assessing the value of concept ideas vis-à-vis stakeholder needs and key performance indicators, as well as analytical methods to further refine and quantitatively assess the concepts.

The development of concrete concepts taking into account input from existing studies and input from other stakeholders like universities, research institutes, airports and industry. The project provided a scientific methodology to develop and evaluate innovative airport concepts. This methodology was based on the well-known Value Operations Methodology (VOM). Central to VOM is the idea to express the value of a concept by its performance difference compared to a reference concept. VOM further provides a high-level set of objectives and attributes based on a thorough assessment of the different airport stakeholders and their interests. The output of the project showed which step change innovation was proposed in order to prepare the different types of airports for the second half of this century.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
The European Commission
Type of funding
Public (EU)
Specific funding programme


The major achievements of this project have been the:

  • Delivery of an extensive set of recommendations for different stakeholder groups:

    • Airport managers, air navigation service providers, industry, airlines, passengers, greenfield airport developers
    • The research community including the European Commission
  • Integration of different methodologies and tools to support the generation of innovative airport concepts in a spiral life cycle process
  • Integration of conclusions of all R&D activities performed within the project

The project succeeded in delivering its overall objectives and has:

  • Managed to define aCDMappropriate for developing high-level and far-future airport concepts. This methodology may also be used to define future operational concepts for other modes of transport.
  • This CDM can also be used to identify improvement areas and needs in the airport of the future at a V0 maturity level. The project provided an adequate scope for the three concepts of operations (TE, UG and CE) for identifying and classifying quantitatively the technical and operational solutions that can solve identified bottlenecks.
  • Validation procedures have been successfully custom-designed for this R&D project
  • Developed solutions and ideas which fulfil the objectives set out by the three airport concepts were able to satisfy the expectations, requirements and objectives of future airports in the areas of sustainability, costs and mobility for the year 2050 and beyond, and considering that every airport has the option to focus on one or more of these objectives using the value function to fulfil its future needs.
  • Identified the major R&D needs that will be required by such concepts in terms of modifications to the operation, management and infrastructure needs for the future airport.


Lead Organisation
Stichting Centrum Voor De Ontwikkeling Van Transport En Logistiek In Europa
Van Nelleweg 1, 3044 BC Rotterdam, Netherlands
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€559 400
Partner Organisations
Ingenieria Y Economia Del Transporte Sme Mp Sa
Avenida Del Partenón, 28042 Madrid, Spain
EU Contribution
€231 200
Centro De Referencia Investigacion Desarrollo E Innovacion Atm, A.i.e.
Avda De Aragon 402 4 Edificio Allende, N/A Madrid, Spain
EU Contribution
€300 400
Slot Consulting Kereskedelmi, Szolgaltato, Tanacsado Kft
BUDAPEST, DUGONICS UTCA 9-11, 1181, Hungary
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€243 840
Deutsches Zentrum Fr Luft Und Raumfahrt E.v
Linder Hoehe, 51147 KOELN, Germany
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€99 870
Smart Continent Lt Uab
Kareiviu Gatve 19, 9133 Vilnius, Lithuania
EU Contribution
€134 800
Universidad Politécnica De Madrid
Avda. Ramiro de Maeztu, 3, 28040 MADRID, Spain
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€241 800
Technische Universiteit Delft
., 2600 GA Delft, Netherlands
EU Contribution
€266 519


Technology Theme
Aircraft operations and safety
Future-proof airport
Development phase

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