Experimental examination of the benefits of improved terminal air traffic control planning
January 1, 1989
Airport capacity can be improved significantly-by precisely controlling the sequence and timing of traffic flow-even when airspace usage and procedures remain fixed. In a preliminary experiment, a plan for such sequencing and timing was applied in a simulation to a 70-min traffic sample observed at Boston's Logan Airport, and the result was a 13% increase in terminal throughput. A total of 2.2 aircraft flight hours were saved. Delays imposed upon arriving traffic in the simulation were much more equitably distributed than in the actual traffic sample. An even greater improvement may be possible if controllers are able to space aircraft more precisely on final approach than was achieved in the simulation. If the plan had been followed precisely, the throughput increase would have been 23%.