A statistical and probabilistic approach for improving efficiency in Air Traffic Flow management

Elefante, Stefano (2001) A statistical and probabilistic approach for improving efficiency in Air Traffic Flow management. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b2070040


This thesis presents a novel approach based on statistics and probability theory to improve Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) efficiency. This work proposes four main contributions, which are briefly described below. A procedure for determining the Airport capacity using an estimated probability that a given number of movements can occur is shown. This procedure is a probabilistic approach that employs the statistical information of aircraft arrivals and departures that are collected over a given time interval. The procedure is demonstrated using historical arrival and departure data to estimate the capacity of London Heathrow airport. A procedure to establish a strategic arrival schedule is developed. An implicit feature of this probabilistic procedure is that it takes into account the uncertainty in the arrival and departure times at a given airport. The methodology has been applied at Glasgow International Airport to design a strategic schedule that reduces either the probability of conflict of the arrivals or the length of the landing slots necessitated by flights. The benefits that are expected through the application of this methodology are a reduction of airborne delays and/or an increase of the airport capacity. Thus a safer and more efficient system is achieved. A decision support tool for Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) is developed. This tool is designed to allow air traffic controllers to organise an air traffic flow pattern using a ground holding strategy. During the daily planning of air traffic flow unpredictable events such as adverse weather conditions and system failures occur, necessitating airborne and ground-hold delays. These delays are used by controllers as a means of avoiding 4D status conflicts. Of the two methods, ground hold delays are preferred because they are safer, less expensive and cause even less pollution. In this thesis a method of estimating the duration of a ground-hold for a given flight is developed. The proposed method is novel in the use of a real time stochastic analysis. The method is demonstrated using Glasgow International Airport. The results presented show how a ground hold policy at a departure airport can increase capacity and minimise conflicts at a destination airport. A methodology to regulate the dispatch of aircraft through any congested sector and Terminal Manoeuvring Areas (TMA) in order to reduce conflicts is presented. This methodology, based on statistics and probability theory, presents a new schedule at the strategic planning level that will ensure, with a high probability, that the aircraft will comply with the established separation minima during their route and during their approach holding patterns. Air Traffic Control Centres (ATC) will be less likely to be overloaded and thus a minimisation of the penalty imposed on aircraft by the operators will be achieved.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: T Technology > T Technology (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Supervisor's Name: Goodchild, Dr. Colin
Date of Award: 2001
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2001-84264
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2024 14:07
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 14:07
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.84264
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/84264

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