Research Questions

Are the Complexity Science approaches relevant to ATM?

Research Scope

CASSIOPEIA studied the benefits of using approaches from complexity science in air traffic management. The CASSIOPEIA project has developed a software platform which can be used to analyse the impact of policy making and changes in operational scenarios in the aeronautical field based on Agent Based Modelling. The same platform can be used to model and analyse different time, spatial, and element scales.

Case Study 1: Local environmental restrictions limiting airport and terminal airspace capacity

This case study considers the application of night bans in major European airports. It reschedules the flights affected to other timeframes or airports, and analyses the socio/environmental impact on the communities of these main airports as well as those of the alternate airports.

Case Study 2: En-route slot exchanges through CDM

This case study analyses to what extent a collaborative decision making mechanism on en-route regulated slots can help reducing the impact cost for operators. To this end, a collaborative exchange mechanism was developed in which operators are given the chance to negotiate between them and swap slots by an economic compensation in return.

Case Study 3: Use of variable aircraft speeds to optimise delay cost recovery (dynamic cost indexing)

This case study analyses the impact of an increased use of dynamic cost indexing (DCI) into a major European hub. DCI is the use of variable aircraft airspeeds, employed by airlines to manage delay costs. Different DCI and delay recovery strategies are analysed to identify trade offs between delays and fuel consumption.

Research Results

Case study 1 findings suggest that whilst the improvements of local air quality are minimal the detrimental effects on economic activity of the airport, airlines and region are potentially significant. While, Case study 2 addressed the impact that slot trading between airlines would have on costs and delay. The results suggest that cost savings of up to 30% can be achieved when letting airlines trade slots without influencing network performance and overall delay. Finally Case study 3 studied the use of a dynamic costs index and hence different approaches to punctuality could have on airline cost. A strategy to reduce delay up to a residual delay of 10 minutes was found to lead to significant costs savings when compared to the approach, widely used by airlines, of trying to eliminate all delay.