Selecting the most suitable route from the departure gate to the runway or from the runway to the gate depends on the airport layout, aircraft type, operational constraints such as closed taxiways, arrival routes, as well as departure planning information such as target start-up times. The SESAR surface route planning function automatically generates taxi routes which are then displayed on the controller working position. The software uses flight plans and current operational data to calculate the optimum route for each aircraft. It also calculates the taxi time, which can then be used for departure planning purposes. The controller can graphically edit the route before relaying it to the pilot by voice, or where possible by datalink.
By generating an electronic route plan, the information can be shared not just with the cockpit, but also with the airline operations centre, air traffic control and other operators on the airfield. It is less prone to error than route plans agreed solely based on controller/pilot communication, and it increases air navigation service productivity. The route plan is also available for use with other solutions such as enhanced guidance assistance tools (through airport moving maps in aircraft and vehicles or through the airfield ground lighting) to provide guidance instructions for pilots or vehicle drivers on the airfield.
Trials revealed a reduction in variability between the planned and actual taxi time compared with current operating methods. Efficiency of surface operations is also improved since pilots and vehicle drivers can receive optimum route plans. Safety is also enhanced, particularly in low visibility, as controllers can rely on a graphical display of the routes assigned to aircraft and vehicles.
SJU references: #22/ Release 5
- Improved predictability
- Enhanced safety
- Increased capacity
- Improved taxi times resulting in reduced fuel burn