Planning horizon requirements for automated terminal scheduling
This paper presents the results of an engineering analysis of the ability of an automated terminal scheduling process to achieve efficient use of runways. The motivation for the analysis is the need to understand possible architectures for an implementation of the proposed Terminal Air Traffic Automation (TATCA) system. The performance of TATCA is dependent upon metering precision and the controllability that TATCA can apply to aircraft entering the scheduling process. Controllability refers to the amount of time by which the flight time of an aircraft can be lengthened or shortened between the scheduling horizon and the chosen runway. The analysis concludes that when current en route metering mechanisms are used to deliver traffic to the terminal, the terminal scheduler meets a controllability window of 300 seconds or so in order to achieve full runway utilization. Because this amount of controllability is often achievable within the terminal area itself, a TATCA system can provide significant benefits prior to the implementation of further improvements in the en route metering process.