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Helping airports squeeze out every last drop of capacity

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Airplanes queued up at Brussels airport

The lack of airport capacity is a well-known challenge for European aviation. One of the ways in which the EUROCONTROL Network Manager is helping airports tackle their capacity shortage is by conducting airport capacity studies to determine the most optimal runway throughput.

Using our Performance indicator and analysis tool for airports (PIATA Neo), we look at existing infrastructure, air traffic control procedures and operational constraints to provide a better insight into airport capacity and performance.

PIATA Neo allows us to make detailed data analyses and has a dedicated modelling facility. Our airport capacity assessments focus on runway throughput, supplemented by an operational evaluation of taxi, apron and Terminal Manoeuvring Area (TMA) operations.

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That involves configuring the airport in question in the software, and collecting live operational data for a set period. That enables us to capture actual operations, and model scenarios by changing configurations and procedures to assess alternatives and potential improvements.

Over the years, PIATA Neo has been progressively adapted to better support our airport stakeholders. The software features include a modern interface and a graphical representation capability.

Interface of PIATA Neo software.

The latest enhancement to support the capacity studies involves automating the data collection exercise, relying primarily on ADS-B information transmitted by aircraft in the proximity of the aerodrome. This automation allows data to be simultaneously collected at multiple airports in all weather conditions, without interruption, and enabling the collected data to be visualised and monitored through a customised web app. The collected data can then be used directly by PIATA Neo.

Newly developed web application supporting the automated data collection.

In the second half of 2019, a pilot exercise at Barcelona Airport successfully covered 97% of total daily traffic; the next validation exercise will take place shortly at Luxembourg Airport.

As from 2021, the focus will be on enriching PIATA Neo’s capabilities to support airports’ operational performance in the European network.

Interested to learn more?

For more information on airport capacity assessments, contact us.