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Helping mitigate the risk of night curfew infringements

Researcher pointing at screen

Promising first results of pilot Innovation Hub project acclaimed at 14th US/Europe ATM R&D Seminar

Airport night curfews are restrictions at many European airports that prohibit operations during certain night hours in order to reduce noise exposure for local residents.

However, the impact on flights running late can be severe on airlines, airports and passengers, potentially forcing diversions to alternative airports requiring passengers to be shuttled to their original destination by land, or significantly delaying or even cancelling the flight if it is impossible to land before a curfew starts, or to depart before a curfew comes into effect.

EUROCONTROL’s "Curfew Collaborative Management" project is one of the first pilot EUROCONTROL Innovation Hub projects designed to deliver agile solutions to operational challenges from our stakeholders. To mitigate curfew infringement, a methodology has been developed to identify candidate flights with a high risk of night curfew infringement, and track the probability throughout the day using real-time delay propagation data.

By providing airlines with accurate data on the risk of night curfew infringements on specific flights, the innovative machine-learning model designed at EUROCONTROL’s Innovation Hub in Brétigny aims to enable airlines to take mitigating measures much quicker – such as reprioritising flights and slot swapping where possible.

Initial project findings reveal that while there is much more work to do to fine-tune the model architecture, nevertheless the results from three validation exercises, using historical data to predict the risk of airport night curfew infringement for each flight, were notably more accurate than the equivalent predictions of the enhanced tactical flow management system in terms of real-time prediction of the propagation of arrival delay, and the probability of night curfew infringement.

The next step for the model will be operational evaluation by Innovation Hub project partners Paris-Orly and Zürich airports, and 5 participating airlines – easyJet, Ryanair, Swiss International Airlines, Transavia and Vueling.

Read the research paper

A research paper about this innovative solution was recognised at last month's 14th US/Europe ATM R&D Seminar as the best in the field of “Complexity Science, Analytics and big data for ATM”.