Connected airports

Airport and Network Operation Plan integration

THIS IS PART OF

Sharing the content of an airport’s operation plan with EUROCONTROL as Network Manager is a key step in having a complete picture of the expected traffic situation.

At EUROCONTROL, our goal is to establish a common, bi-directional data exchange between airports and the network through our system-wide information management (SWIM) concept. Thus, EUROCONTROL and SESAR Partners have developed the Collaborative NOP concept to further connect airports to the network.

Our efforts are in support of the European Implementing Regulation IR716/2014, section 4.1.2. Such legislation will require EUROCONTROL, in its capacity as Network Manager, to establish a collaborative NOP with exchange of information from the operation plans of the main airports in the NM area into the Network Operations Plan (NOP).

In the collaborative NOP, airports share operational arrival and departure planning information earlier (beyond the current A-CDM process) with EUROCONTROL. This helps to optimise predictability thus helping airports with limited runway capacity and enhancing network performance.

Development

The collaborative NOP concept was validated as part of the SESAR 2020 Network Collaborative Management (NCM) project (PJ24)   – one of the very large-scale demonstrations (VLD). The project successfully demonstrated the feasibility of the Arrival Planning Information and target time of arrival (API-TTA) management process in an extremely busy network period and highlighted where improvements can be made. The concept will be further developed as part of the SESAR 2020 Wave in PJ04 Solution 28.3.  

Benefits

Following our validation exercise, we saw that there were distinct advantages for our participants thanks to the:

  • reduction of reactionary delay dispersion and ratio reactionary delay to total delay,
  • reduction of delay compared to computer-assisted slot allocation (CASA) regulations,
  • better definite airport plan by adhering to calculated take-off times (CTOTs) at outstations,
  • semi-automated TTA process.

We measured a reduction in air traffic flow management (ATFM) delay of between 26-41% at Heathrow Airport when applying a TTA rule instead of the conventional regulation. The Spanish TTA exercises have measured significant reductions in reactionary delays and maximum delays to flights.

NEST Simulation results

Delay compared to actual delay figures achieved when using TTA derived regulations at Heathrow Airport.

TTA regulation Assumed regulation rate Simulated delay (min) Percentage increase
Date Start End Delay (min)
03/06/2019 06:00 09:12 555 41-42 500 – 1296 -9% - 134%
04/06/2019 10:00 19:00 1246 40-41 1373 – 2010 10% - 62%
06/06/2019 09:00 12:40 1192 41 609 -49%
06/06/2019 17:30 18:50 800 34-42 100 – 407 -70% - -45%
07/06/2019 06:00 15:34 6283 38 10550 68%
08/06/2019 05:20 15:34 2398 38 10550 11%
14/06/2019 16:30 19:24 1056 41-42 529 - 832 -50% - -21%
Total     13620   17127 - 10170 26% – 41%

From qualitative assessments, air navigation service provider (ANSP) and airport staff confirmed that operational performance has benefited from this next level of connectivity and recommended further optimisation and implementation of TTA operations.

The predictability results measured by the teams from Spanish also clearly show that the estimated times of arrival are more accurate when integrating API and departure planning information (DPI) messages long in advance of the airport collaborative decision-making (A-CDM) processes.

Deployment

Based on the Implementing Regulation IR716/2014 Collaborative NOP shall be deployed in NM and 24 European Airports by 31 December 2021.