This work considers the management in the short run of aircraft departures from their
parking stands at major airports where traffic congestion is noticeable. At the ground
level, congestion is patent when carefully designed departure time tables become
unworkable, causing ever increasing delays which penalize heavily passengers, airlines
and the airport surrounding community.
The study is composed of two parts:
First an overall analysis of the considered problem is performed to provide background
knowledge and to display basic principles for the management of aircraft ground
movements at modem airports. Physical components as well as current operational
rules are discussed and their interdependence is revealed. A particular importance is
given to new and foreseeable developments in communication and guidance technology
which allow an improved prediction of runway occupancy times or gaps. Capacity
issues are also discussed with respect to aircraft ground activities and the airfield
capacity is analysed.
This first part of the work ends with the description of levels of fuel consumption and
of pollution emission by aircraft ground operations and thus shows the relevance of the
problem considered in this study.
The second part of this work is devoted to the design of a just-in-time clearance policy
which should minimise environment, fuel and pollution levels and made possible a
delay-free ground traffic for departing aircraft A mathematical formulation of the
considered decision problem, characterized as a real time scheduling problem, is built
up. Then possible solution strategies are appraised and an "ad hoc" heuristic solution
algorithm is designed. This solution is first compared in theoretical terms with a First
Come First Served policy showing that in an error-free situation the proposed solution
cannot be worse than its competitor. Then a simulation study is performed which
confirms in practical terms the above result The influence of the main design
parameters of the solution algorithm on its performance are also examined giving some
insights in relation to necessary communication and prediction aids.
Finally, possible extensions of the proposed method and its integration in a global
aircraft traffic management system are discussed.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.