PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The long-term management goals of the inflammatory airway diseases asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are similar and focus on symptom control and reduction of exacerbation frequency and severity. Treatable traits have recently been postulated as a management concept which complements the traditional diagnostic labels 'asthma' and 'COPD', thereby focusing on therapy targeted to a patients' individual disease-associated characteristics. Exhaled volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may be utilized as noninvasive biomarker for disease activity or manifestation in asthma and COPD. In this review, we provide an overview of the current achievements concerning exhaled breath analysis in the field of uncontrolled chronic airways diseases. RECENT FINDINGS: Monitoring of (airway) inflammation and identification of (molecular) phenotypic characteristics in asthma and COPD through exhaled VOC analysis by either mass spectrometry (MS) based or sensor-driven electronic nose technology (eNose) seems to be feasible, however pending confirmation could hamper the valorization of breathomics into clinical tests. SUMMARY: Exhaled VOC analysis and the management of asthma and COPD through the concept of pulmonary treatable traits are an interesting match. To develop exhaled breath analysis into an added value for pulmonary treatable traits, multicentre studies are required following international standards for study populations, sampling methods and analytical strategies enabling external validation.