Mechanisms for Trajectory Options Allocation in Collaborative Air Traffic Flow Management

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Mohanavelu Umamagesh, Prithiv Raj
Lovell, David J
Flight delays are primarily due to traffic imbalances caused by the demand for airspace resource exceeding its capacity. The capacity restriction might be due to inclement weather, an overloaded air traffic sector, or an airspace restriction. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the organization responsible for air traffic control and management in the USA, has developed several tools known as Traffic Management Initiatives (TMI) to bring the demand into compliance with the capacity constraints. Collaborative Trajectory Option Program (CTOP) is one such tool that has been developed by the FAA to mitigate the delay experienced by flights. Operating under a Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) environment, CTOP is considered as the next step into the future of air traffic management by the FAA. The advantages of CTOP over the traditional the TMIs are unequivocal. The concerns about the allocation scheme used in the CTOP and treatment of flights from the flight operators/airlines have limited its usage. This research was motivated by the high ground delays that were experienced by flights and how the rerouting decisions were made in the current allocation method used in a CTOP. We have proposed four alternative approaches in this thesis, which incorporated priority of flights by the respective flight operator, aimed at not merely reducing an individual flight operator’s delay but also the total delay incurred to the system. We developed a test case scenario to compare the performances of the four proposed allocation methods against one another and with the present allocation mechanism of CTOP.