In order to improve air traffic management service delivery, we need to better characterise and measure performance,
through improved metrics. We introduce complexity science and illustrate examples of the additional metrics it may bring to air traffic management. We show how exploring metric variability is preferred to focusing on central tendency. The importance of embracing passenger-centricity is demonstrated. The first results of applying complexity science techniques to the characterisation of actual European passenger trip itineraries are presented, investigating network topologies and vulnerabilities. It is
anticipated that on-going work will further contribute to existing research demonstrating the differences between flight-centric and passenger-centric metrics, establishing the better alignment of the latter with key high-level policies in Europe. The specific metric contributions from complexity science remain to be fully proven – although the initial evidence is encouraging.