Assessing delay benefits of the Final Approach Spacing Tool (FAST)
August 6, 2001
Air traffic delay grows each year. NASA is developing the Final Approach Spacing Tool (FAST) to help reduce airport arrival delays. FAST is intended to increase throughput and reduce delays. Analysis and field trials have suggested that FAST can help controllers increase arrival throughput on busy runways by several aircraft per hour. Published simulation studies have predicted that delay reductions from such throughput increases would save several hundred million dollars annually. However, these predictions disagree on delay savings for some airports and omit other airports of interest. Their predicted delay savings for some airports are higher than actual reported delays for those airports. They do not consider hazardous weather disruptions to arrival routes, and they do not address downstream delays caused by schedule disruption. This paper focuses on simple statistical and analytical measures of delay to resolve these problems. It develops a rule for ranking benefits and compares delay reduction predictions against actual reported delays. It relates delay to ceiling and visibility and thunderstorms. It examines the correlation of delay between airports and estimates the impact of downstream delay on FAST benefits.