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Departure queue management benefits across many airports

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2 Author(s)
Steven Stroiney ; Sensis Corporation, Syracuse, NY ; Benjamin Levy

Departure queue management holds the promise of improving runway throughput and reducing queue length, taxi time, fuel burn, and emissions, while reducing costs and improving the passenger experience. These benefits are achieved by allowing departures to accept delay at the gate, rather than in a long departure queue, while maintaining their position in a virtual queue. Previous work has evaluated these savings for individual airports, using simulation and data analysis. This paper extends the previous work to assess the potential impact of a queue management policy across a large number of airports. One factor often neglected in previous studies is the impact of limited gate capacity, which could limit the achievable savings at some airports. We study the effect of departure queue management on gate occupancy, and find that limited capacity imposes only a modest reduction in savings. We also evaluate the economic value of the savings offered by queue management, and find that they amount to tens of millions of dollars per year at a large airport, even before considering additional benefits such as prioritization of high-value flights and the reduction in missed passenger connections. Finally, we compare the potential benefits of departure queue management across 22 U.S. airports, using recorded surveillance data over a long period of time, covering a variety of conditions. The potential benefits of queue management will be greatest at airports where long departure queues, and long taxi-out times, are often observed. Using measurements of queue length derived from surveillance data, we quantify the benefits that may be achieved at each airport and identify those with the greatest potential savings.

Published in:

Integrated Communications, Navigation and Surveilance Conference (ICNS), 2011

Date of Conference:

10-12 May 2011