Optimizing integrated airport surface and terminal airspace operations under uncertainty

Christabelle S Bosson, Purdue University


In airports and surrounding terminal airspaces, the integration of surface, arrival and departure scheduling and routing have the potential to improve the operations efficiency. Moreover, because both the airport surface and the terminal airspace are often altered by random perturbations, the consideration of uncertainty in flight schedules is crucial to improve the design of robust flight schedules. Previous research mainly focused on independently solving arrival scheduling problems, departure scheduling problems and surface management scheduling problems and most of the developed models are deterministic. This dissertation presents an alternate method to model the integrated operations by using a machine job-shop scheduling formulation. A multistage stochastic programming approach is chosen to formulate the problem in the presence of uncertainty and candidate solutions are obtained by solving sample average approximation problems with finite sample size. The developed mixed-integer-linear-programming algorithm-based scheduler is capable of computing optimal aircraft schedules and routings that reflect the integration of air and ground operations. The assembled methodology is applied to a Los Angeles case study. To show the benefits of integrated operations over First-Come-First-Served, a preliminary proof-of-concept is conducted for a set of fourteen aircraft evolving under deterministic conditions in a model of the Los Angeles International Airport surface and surrounding terminal areas. Using historical data, a representative 30-minute traffic schedule and aircraft mix scenario is constructed. The results of the Los Angeles application show that the integration of air and ground operations and the use of a time-based separation strategy enable both significant surface and air time savings. The solution computed by the optimization provides a more efficient routing and scheduling than the First-Come-First-Served solution. Additionally, a data driven analysis is performed for the Los Angeles environment and probabilistic distributions of pertinent uncertainty sources are obtained. A sensitivity analysis is then carried out to assess the methodology performance and find optimal sampling parameters. Finally, simulations of increasing traffic density in the presence of uncertainty are conducted first for integrated arrivals and departures, then for integrated surface and air operations. To compare the optimization results and show the benefits of integrated operations, two aircraft separation methods are implemented that offer different routing options. The simulations of integrated air operations and the simulations of integrated air and surface operations demonstrate that significant traveling time savings, both total and individual surface and air times, can be obtained when more direct routes are allowed to be traveled even in the presence of uncertainty. The resulting routings induce however extra take off delay for departing flights. As a consequence, some flights cannot meet their initial assigned runway slot which engenders runway position shifting when comparing resulting runway sequences computed under both deterministic and stochastic conditions. The optimization is able to compute an optimal runway schedule that represents an optimal balance between total schedule delays and total travel times.




Sun, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Aerospace engineering

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