University of Nottingham > School of Computer Science > Automated Scheduling Planning and Optimisation > Air Transportation Research

TSAT generation

(2007 - ongoing)

Absorbing any excess necessary delay at the stands at busy times

Reducing delay at the runway is good for passengers, airlines and the environment, but the throughput of the runway is limited, so queues can accumulate at times no matter how good the scheduling is. To further reduce the environmental impact at the airport another ASAP project, again funded by NATS and EPSRC, considers the advantages of holding aircraft on the stands, before their engines are started, rather than at the runway. The aim of this project is to consider all of the aircraft on the airport, predict the likely delay time, then absorb all except as much as possible at the stand by allocating to the aircraft a later time at which it should push back. The difficulty here is that, not only do the take-off sequence restrictions have to be considered, but so do issues of contention between aircraft which are at stands which are close together. It is impossible to simultaneously push back from some combinations of stands, and there are other combinations where one aircraft would be blocked by another and would have to wait for it to move out of the way before it could commence its own pushback. Simulations using the developed system have shown considerable decreases in engine running time, thus NATS are hoping to integrate the system into Heathrow soon.