For many years air traffic has been increasing at a healthy and steady rate. This has resulted in a restless search for solutions to accommodate the ever-growing demand in the most efficient way. Countless efforts and resources have been invested into operations optimization and capacity enhancement. These efforts have crystalized into new technologies and protocols that have helped aviation to fully utilize every inch of space available. Unfortunately, amid the current global health crisis, with air transport operations reduced to a historical minimum, high uncertainty on when they will return to pre-crisis levels and airports full of grounded aircraft, the gained operational capacity and efficiency is not being utilized.
It is still uncertain when and how normal operations will be resumed, but it is to be expected that they eventually will and, with it, a transition phase posing new challenges. To name a few: the effect of social distancing rules on terminal processes and capacity, increased turn-around times due to new boarding and de-boarding protocols, re-opening of terminal infrastructure as operations ramp-up and recovery and start-up of grounded aircraft.
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A helping hand
For the unprecedent situations described above and due to the novelty of the situation, the available expertise and knowledge is limited. A way of bridging the knowledge gap is being able to visualize and quantitatively analyze potential scenarios, and how their performance is affected by different variables. We believe Fast-Time Simulation can contribute in the transition to the “New Normal”. Whereas Fast-Time Simulation is usually associated with capacity and efficiency studies, it is in fact an excellent tool for solving any problem of logistical nature. Analyzing complex systems, testing different options and comparing them are what FTS excels at.
Now the question is no longer how to squeeze the maximum yield out of our resources, but other questions such as:
- What apron capacity is needed as operations ramp-up?
- What new stand allocation rules to apply?
- How to deal with different border status flights?
- How will longer boarding and de-boarding times affect turn-around times?
- How will these expected longer turn-around times affect capacity?
- How does having multiple aircraft parked all over the airport terrain affect operations?
- How long does it take to restore an aircraft to service, when parked in the middle of a stack and in very close proximity to other aircraft?
- What is the best strategy for long-term parking for a given airport layout?
- How will the rules for social distancing influence terminal capacity and processes?
- How much is the foreseeable decrease in terminal capacity and efficiency?
- By how much are waiting times increased due to the new safety measures?
- Is a reconfiguration of the terminal space needed?
- How much more space is required for a safe operation?
- How long will transfer operations take?
We find all these interesting questions worthwhile analyzing to make the best decisions when moving forward and emerging successfully from the current health crisis. We foresee that FTS can support decision making and adopting the best strategy in these times of uncertainty.
About To70. To70 is one of the world’s leading aviation consultancies, founded in the Netherlands with offices in Europe, Australia, Asia, and Latin America. To70 believes that society’s growing demand for transport and mobility can be met in a safe, efficient, environmentally friendly and economically viable manner. To achieve this, policy and business decisions have to be based on objective information. With our diverse team of specialists and generalists to70 provides pragmatic solutions and expert advice, based on high-quality data-driven analyses. For more information, please refer to www.to70.com.