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Title: A framework for the optimisation of terminal airspace design in Multi-Airport Systems
Author: Sidiropoulos, Stavros
ISNI:       0000 0004 7657 0923
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2017
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Major cities such as London, New York, and Tokyo are served by several airports, effectively creating a Multi-Airport System (MAS) or Metroplex. Although the operations of individual Metroplex airports are highly interdependent, the current practice is non-integrated, ad-hoc and piecemeal, and over relies on the experience of air traffic controllers to manage the terminal airspace serving the airports. This separate management of MAS airports is complex and does not maximise their operational efficiency. In an attempt to improve MAS operations, the research to date has focused on routing/scheduling algorithms under the assumption that the MAS terminal airspace design is fixed, leading to at best marginal improvements. This thesis proposes a dynamic route concept, that facilitates an integrated approach to the management and operation of MAS terminal airspace. The concept encapsulates a novel procedure for terminal airspace design in MAS, along with a generic methodological framework for its implementation. The dynamic route concept significantly improves the operational efficiency through a paradigm-shift in the design of the operations in MAS terminal airspace. It consists of three components. The first is a new procedure for the robust characterisation of traffic demand based on the spatio-temporal distribution of flights throughout the operational period. The second component is an adaptation of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to realise a model for the prioritisation of the dynamic routes, which takes into account quantitative and qualitative attributes important for MAS operations, and enables the decision maker to actively influence the design. The prioritisation model is applied to the dynamic routes derived by the first component. The third component involves priority-based positioning of terminal waypoints, and the design of three-dimensional, conflict-free terminal routes. The latter accounts for the AHP-derived route priorities while satisfying the minimal separation, spatial restriction, and aircraft manoeuvrability constraints. The developed framework is applied to a case study of the New York Metroplex. The effectiveness of the proposed terminal airspace design and its advantages over the current design are demonstrated quantitatively using the AirTOp fast-time simulation model. Overall, significant reductions are achieved for the total distance travelled, total flight duration in the terminal airspace, total fuel burn and total controller workload, ranging from [13%, 21%], [11%, 19%], [10%, 14%] and [25%, 47%], respectively. The framework is also validated qualitatively by subject matter experts involved in the design and operation of the New York Metroplex. The framework elaborated in this thesis tackles the terminal airspace design problem in MAS areas and is recommended for terminal airspace redesign and design for the current and future terminal airspaces, respectively.
Supervisor: Majumdar, Arnab ; Han, Ke ; Ochieng, Washington Sponsor: Lloyd's Register Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral