Operational usage of the Route Availability Planning Tool during the 2007 convective weather season
October 6, 2008
The Route Availability Planning Tool (RAPT) is an integrated weather/air traffic management decision support tool that has been designed to help traffic managers better anticipate weather impacts on jet routes and thus improve NY departure route usage efficiency. A field study was conducted in 2007 to evaluate RAPT technical performance at forecasting route blockage, to assess RAPT operational use during adverse weather, and to evaluate RAPT benefits. The operational test found that RAPT guidance was operationally sound and timely in many circumstances. RAPT applications included increased departure route throughput, more efficient reroute planning, and more timely decision coordination. Estimated annual NY departure delay savings attributed to RAPT in 2007 totaled 2,300 hours, with a cost savings of $7.5 M. The RAPT field study also sought to develop a better understanding of NY traffic flow decision-making during convective weather impacts since the RAPT benefits in 2007 were significantly limited by a number of factors other than direct weather impacts. Observations were made of the multi-facility departure management decision chain, the traffic management concerns and responsibilities at specific FAA facilities, and the procedures and pitfalls of the current process for capturing and disseminating key information such as route/fix availability and restrictions.