All airlines must provide performance data to enable their crews to operate aircraft safely, economically and in accordance with their applicable certification rules and operating practices.

Basic data has in the past been provided by the airplane manufacturer in various manuals (AFM, Operations Manual, Performance Engineer's Manual) in hard copy form. Progressively this has been supplemented by data provided on magnetic tape/floppy disk to facilitate data entry into programs developed either by the airlines or by airplane manufacturers.

Aspects which require basic performance data applications include takeoff, landing, flight planning, route studies, engine failure procedures, and aircraft performance monitoring, etc.

One particularly complex requirement is the calculation of takeoff performance data. Most airlines use programs supplied by the airplane manufacturers for each airplane type, and interface these programs with their own computer operating environment, airfield database, and data output format requirements.

In order to reduce the development effort for the airlines (interfacing with different airplane manufacturers' programs) and manufacturers (meeting individual airline requirements for customer-specific features) there are clear advantages in standardizing as much as possible the input/output features of these programs, and also data formats.

Having recognised this potential benefit, IATA, ATA and several manufacturers set up a Standardized Computerized Airplane Performance Task Force (SCAP TF).

The task which the SCAP TF undertook, because of its importance to airlines and manufacturers, was to achieve maximum possible standardization of the performance program interface. The result of that effort are the 6 SCAP Specifications, which define the interface requirements for airplane manufacturer supplied analysis software for implementation in the airline user environment. The 6 SCAP Specifications are : Takeoff, Landing, Climbout, Inflight, Noise and APM (Aircraft Performance Monitoring).The SCAP specifications are applicable to civil, transport category, airplanes. Maintenance and update of the SCAP Specifications has been the responsibility of the SCAP Task Force, meeting annually.