Capacity and delay analysis for airport manoeuvring areas using simulation
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Purpose - The aim of this study is to identify the nodes where congestion occurs in the manoeuvring area of a large-scale airport and to provide appropriate suggestions for improvement. Design/methodology/approach - To investigate the air traffic flow in a highly complex system such as an airport manoeuvring area, a two-stage method based on fast- and real-time simulation techniques is applied. The first stage involves the analysis with fast- and real-time simulations of a baseline model created to determine the congestion points. Based on the analysis, improvements to be performed in the layout of the manoeuvring area are proposed. In the second stage, alternative scenarios implementing these improvements are generated and evaluated in a fast-time simulation environment. Based on the results of simulations of different runway configurations, the main areas of congestion in the baseline airport model are determined. Congestion nodes are identified in the departure queue points and in the taxiway system. To mitigate congestion at these points, three alternative models comprising taxiway and fast-exit taxiway reconfigurations are tested using the fast-time simulation technique. The alternative solution found to be the best in these tests is selected for further testing in real-time simulations. Findings - It is shown that the solution would result in an increase in the number of hourly operations and a significant decrease in total ground delays. When conducting the studies needed to identify congestion and design improvements, simulation techniques save both expense and time. Although fast-time simulations are usually adequate for identifying solutions, when critical configurations for the airport are considered, it is shown that it is necessary to also test the results of the fast-time simulations in real-time simulations. Research limitations/implications - The effects of meteorological events, such as rain, fog and snow, etc. are ignored in the simulations. Ground movements in manoeuvring areas are significantly affected by the runways used. Consequently, to enable a comprehensive evaluation in the study, three alternative runway use scenarios are examined. Originality/value - This study utilizes a combination of fast- and real-time simulation techniques to identify the points where congestion occurs in the manoeuvring areas of large-scale airports and to find solutions to minimize the congestion. This approach attempts to combine advantages of both techniques while reducing their shortcomings. No study is found in the literature using both of these techniques together for the capacity analysis of airport manoeuvring areas.