Handling disruptions in Total Airport Management using what-if enabled systems
Authors: Reiner Suikat, Nils Carstengerdes, Yves Guenther, Sebastian Schier, Dag Kjenstad, Michael Sinen
Abstract: Total Airport Management (TAM) is an operational concept that brings together the main stakeholders at an airport to collaboratively develop a plan for the airport operations, the so-called Airport Operations Plan (AOP). This AOP contains scheduled and targeted times as well as resource plans for all flight operations related events such as on- or off-block times, runway scheduling, ground handling resource planning, etc. In case of a disruptive event at the airport the stakeholders will collaboratively develop a strategy on how to best solve the issues such that the impact on operations overall is minimized. Such disruptive events could for example be related to weather, strikes, or security incidents.The flight related processes, e.g. stand/gate planning, turnaround planning, runway assignments, flight scheduling are forming a closely-knit process network. Each of these processes is under the control of one of the stakeholders, and therefore it is very difficult for them to predict the effect of any decision they might take on the overall operations. This necessitates a process on how to analyze the effects of different stakeholder options on the overall operation before actually taking a decision and activating it in the AOP. This process is called a what-if process and is seen as a vital enabler for an efficient and successful TAM. In the context of the SESAR TAM projects an operational concept for performance-based airport management in case of meteorologically caused disruptions has been developed along with tool prototypes to support the operators with what-if functionality. In the latest TAM project (PJ04) this concept has been validated to reach Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 (prototype in operational environment) and both performance and human factors benefits of the approach have been demonstrated with a validation exercise taking place in the Airport Control and Operations Center Simulator (ACCES) at DLR in Braunschweig with operational experts from Oslo Gardermoen airport. In this validation exercise the stakeholders were confronted with a forecasted winter weather situation typical for the airport, where de-icing and runway cleaning is required. The weather forecast and actual weather conditions during the exercise were based on real recorded data and a newly developed MET alerting service provided de-icing and snow alerts with increased accuracy as the actual time of the event approached. The first section of the paper will address the operational concept with a focus on the use of the what-if functionality. Then a brief description of the newly developed tools is given, explaining processes and essential tools enabling effective what-if analysis, the prediction algorithm required to perform what-if analysis and the graphical user interface for the interaction between stakeholders and tools. Next the validation exercise will be described, followed by a presentation of the results, which clearly show benefits both in airport performance as well as the human factors situation awareness, workload, trust, teamwork and usability. Especially the human factors related results, which have been obtained both from standard and bespoke questionnaires, will be explained in detail. The results obtained from the exercise are very promising and suggestions for future research will be provided to conclude the paper.
Keywords: Airport management what, if decision, support
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