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A Study of Tradeoffs in Scheduling Terminal-Area Operations

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2 Author(s)
Hanbong Lee ; Dept. of Aeronaut. & Astronaut., Massachusetts Inst. of Technol., Cambridge, MA ; Balakrishnan, H.

The terminal area surrounding an airport is an important component of the air transportation system, and efficient terminal-area schedules are essential for accommodating the projected increase in air traffic demand. Aircraft arrival schedules are subject to a variety of operational constraints, such as minimum separation for safety, required arrival time-windows, limited deviation from a first-come first-served sequence, and precedence constraints. There is also a range of objectives associated with multiple stakeholders that could be optimized in these schedules; the associated tradeoffs are evaluated in this paper. A dynamic programming algorithm for determining the minimum cost arrival schedule, given aircraft-dependent delay costs, is presented. The proposed approach makes it possible to determine various tradeoffs in terminal-area operations. A comparison of maximum throughput and minimum average delay schedules shows that the benefit from maximizing throughput could be at the expense of an increase in average delay, and that minimizing delay is the more advantageous of the two objectives in most cases. A comprehensive analysis of the tradeoffs between throughput and fuel costs and throughput and operating costs is conducted, accounting for both the cost of delay (as reported by the airlines) and the cost of speeding up when possible (from models of aircraft performance).

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:96 ,  Issue: 12 )