Impact of Weather on Air Traffic Control

Abstract: Weather has a strong impact on Air Traffic Management (ATM). Inefficient weather avoidance procedures and inaccurate prognosis lead to longer aircraft routes and, as a result, to fuel waste and increased negative environmental impact. A better integration of weather information into the operational ATM-system will ultimately improve the overall air traffic safety and efficiency. Covid-19 pandemics affected aviation severely, resulting in an unprecedented reduction of air traffic, and gave the opportunity to study the flight performance in non-congested scenarios. We investigated the historical flight and weather data from Stockholm Arlanda and Gothenburg Landvetter airports for the period of two years 2019 and 2020 and discovered noticeable inefficiencies and environmental performance degradation, which persisted despite significant reduction of traffic intensity in March 2020. This thesis proposes a methodology that allows to distinguish which factors have the highest impact on which aspects of arrival performance in horizontal and vertical dimensions.Academic Excellence in ATM and UTM Research (AEAR) group operating within the Communications and Transport Systems (KTS) division in Linköping University (LIU), together with the Research and Development at Luftfartsverket (LFV, Swedish Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP)) develops optimization techniques to support efficient decision-making for aviation authorities. In this thesis, we design probabilistic models, which take into account the influence of bad weather conditions on the solutions developed in the related project and integrate them into the corresponding optimization framework. Probabilistic models were applied to account for weather impact on Air Traffic Controller (ATCO) work in remote and conventional towers. The probabilistic weather products were used to obtain an ensemble of staffing solutions, from which the probability distributions of the number of necessary ATCOs were derived. The modelling is based on the techniques recently developed within several Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) projects addressing weather uncertainty challenges. The proposed solution was successfully tested using the historical flight and weather data from five airports in Sweden planned for remote operation in the future.

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