Identification and control of congested airports

Eric Feron
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

The air traffic has been growing rapidly since the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. As a consequence of this and the concentration of air traffic on fewer origin-destination pairs, the air transportation network is becoming progressively more congested, with a steady increase of gate-to-gate flight times. The most tangible source of traffic congestion in the United States is the airports. In this talk, we will identify the main constraints that drive airport dynamics based on experimental data and on-site investigations. We will also discuss possible control points for tactical airport traffic management, and desirable airport control objectives. We will show that simple queuing models may capture well the macroscopic behavior of a busy airport such as Logan Airport. These models will be used to evaluate the economical and environmental impact of closed-loop gate hold strategies to control taxiway congestion while preserving airport capacity during the departure process.