Real-time data sharing to cut airport waiting times

Aviation engineering experts have come up with new technologies to cut waiting times for passengers at airports.

Researchers at University of Lincoln have proposed a new holistic framework for airports that combines the scheduling and routing of aircraft, 4-Dimentional Trajectory (4DT) optimisation, plus runway and airport bus scheduling.

With increasing air traffic, rising fuel costs and stricter environmental targets, the proposals could reduce delays, improve efficiency and cut pollution at major airports, researchers said.

“By 2030, it is forecasted that the number of airline passengers globally will double to about 6 billion per year,” lead author Dr Michal Weiszer said.

The framework focuses on detailed fuel consumption at different power settings, which was not considered in previous studies, according to engineers.

It was tested on real-world data at Doha International Airport that closed in 2014 to make way for the new commercial airport Hamad International Airport.

“Without action, 12 per cent of flights could not be accommodated because of lack of airport capacity", Weiszer said.

“This, together with the global effort to meet ambitious environmental targets, such as ensuring ground operations in Europe are emission-free by 2050, combined with rising fuel costs, is pushing the airlines and airports to reduce fuel consumption and their operational costs as much as possible.”

The Lincoln team used a multi-objective algorithm to aggregate different data, usually analysed on its own, such as ground movement of both aircraft vehicles, runway scheduling and ground services, landing time, pushback time and aircraft ground position.

“In this study we tested a new concept, which is the cooperation and sharing of real-time data between airports, aircraft operators, ground workers and air traffic control in order to reduce delays, improve the predictability of events and optimise resource,” Weiszer said.

The researchers believe the most benefit would be obtained by large and busy airports, where the runway needs to be used as efficiently as possible, with high volume traffic on the airport surface and increased need of ground services.

The model was published in the journal Applied Energy.

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