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COLLABORATIVE ARRIVAL PLANNING
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The Problem
  • Major airlines operate their flights through "hub and spoke" networks, whereby many aircraft arrive to a central "hub" airport in rapid succession and depart to other "spoke" cities with very little time at the airport gate. This allows an airline to offer service to more cities with fewer airplanes. More than 50 aircraft may arrive and depart a single airport within one hour.
  • Closely spaced arrivals and departures in "hub and spoke" networks are very sensitive to timing miscues, such as those caused by bad weather or airport congestion. Arrival timing miscues lead to missed passenger connections, inefficient ground operations caused by incorrect gate assignments, and occasional aircraft diversions to alternate airports. These cause passenger inconvenience, flight delays, and lost airline revenue.
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A Solution

Approach
  • Provide NASA CTAS generated aircraft time of arrival and airport landing information to airlines to prevent timing miscues and increase airline efficiencies.
  • Allow airlines to influence the arrival order of their aircraft to re-cover from inevitable arrival timing miscues.
CAP:
  • Collaborate with airline representatives to:
    • Improve airline arrival operations
    • Improve CTAS algorithms, and eventually accomodate a greater range of user preferences in sequencing and scheduling of arrival traffic in the Center and TRACON.
  • Evaluate and develop uses and benefits of CTAS to airline operations.
  • Evaluate and develop improvements to CTAS given airline data inputs.
  • Develop CTAS-based user-preference tools for collaborative arrival planning.
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Benefits

Passenger
  • Fewer missed connections.
  • Increased airport gate efficiencies create more orderly and less rushed airport connections.
Airline
  • Increased revenues from improved airport gate, personnel, and ground equipment efficiencies.
  • Recovery of costs incurred when aircraft must be diverted to alternate airports caused by uncertain arrival times or unexpected air traffic control holds.
FAA & Air Traffic Control
  • Reduction of the severity of over-capacity "rush" periods at major airports, resulting from more efficient and collaborative arrival planning amongst airlines.
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The Plan
  • Provide NASA CTAS to airlines with large operations at CTAS test sites. As benefits ensue and NASA CTAS is deployed nationally, provide CTAS to all airlines.
  • Develop new NASA CTAS automation tools that allow the airline to send their arrival preferences to NASA CTAS for possible re-ordering to prevent hub and spoke timing miscues.
Photo of American Airlines operations control center running CAP
Airline Operation Control Center

Photo of air traffic controllers running CAP
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PUBLICATIONS
CAP Publications
Link to a list of CAP papers available for download.
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Last Updated: October 13, 2016

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