Being able to have more control over selecting which delayed flights to prioritise based on business needs is a big advantage for airlines and other actors, which is where the User Driven Prioritisation Process, or UDPP for short, comes in.
Part of the SESAR PJ07 project, UDPP is a solution that help airlines prioritise their delayed flights. Under development since 2012, some UDPP features have already been deployed such as Enhanced Slot Swapping, while others have achieved different maturity levels. Two core UDPP functionalities, Fleet Delay Reordering and Selective Flight Protection, were validated earlier in 2019; the latest feature to be successfully simulated is ‘the Margins’. This feature allows airlines to interact with the Network through the provision of an additional set of information in order to mitigate the impact of delay and further improve their decision-making processes.
When a flight is delayed, it will have a time whereby the missed passenger connections, operational impact and associated costs increase significantly. The margins feature enables airlines to input this time across all their flights caught in a heavy delay and, in addition to estimated departure time which is already submitted to Network, create a 'margin of manoeuvre'. This in turn can be used to reorder and prioritise flights to best suit the needs of the each airline when foreseen capacity reductions have been identified.
The Margins were successfully tested in a recent validation exercise at the EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre by operational experts from airlines (Air France, Air Baltic, Lufthansa Group/Swiss, HOP!, Transavia and El Al) and IATA.
The exercise revealed that by offering airlines an additional set of information, they could optimise the position for a set of delayed flights within their margins, reducing the number of missed passenger connections, and lowering the cost of delay by 40% in a capacity-constrained situation.