Modelling Airport Capacity Expansion Delays



Modelling Airport Capacity Expansion Delays

Authors

Marc Gelhausen, Deutsches Zentrum Für Luft- Und Raumfahrt E.V. (DLR)

Description

Air traffic has grown substantially in the past by about 4% - 5% per year and is expected to grow in the future by about the same pace. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to present an econometric model of runway expansion delays at airports that are operating near or at their capacity limit.

Abstract

Air traffic has grown substantially in the past by about 4% - 5% per year and according to forecasts of institutions like ICAO or manufacturers like Airbus or Boeing, demand for air traffic is expected to grow in the future by about the same pace. That means that global air traffic doubles every 15 years if airport capacity is sufficient to handle the increased demand for flights. However, as we have seen in the past, air traffic is heavily concentrated on only a rather small number of large airports: About 4% of the airports worldwide with scheduled traffic, i.e. 100 airports, handle more than 50% or 28 m aircraft movements. Hub traffic is essential for the global air traffic network to achieve a high degree of connectivity between any two origin – destination pairs efficiently. However, at the same time, it is becoming more and more difficult to expand hub airports like e.g. London Heathrow or Frankfurt to account for the increased demand for flights. In many cases the runway system is the critical bottleneck in long term airport capacity, thus enhancing airport capacity means adding new runways and possibly a lengthy approval process.

Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to present an econometric model of runway expansion delays at airports that are operating near or at their capacity limit. A runway expansion delay means that runway capacity is insufficient to meet the actual demand and results in modification of demand, e.g. a temporal or regional demand shift or a demand loss. The model is based on the idea, that caused by the noise emission there is an opposition against runway expansions from the population surrounding the airport. The degree of opposition depends on various factors like e.g. welfare level, number of aircraft movements and location of the airport with respect to the urban agglomeration. Depending on those factors, the degree of opposition at an airport may range from marginal opposition to such a degree of opposition that building a new runway is virtually impossible. The model is based on discrete choice and Markov switching models and calculates the expected time span of delayed runway expansion at a congested airport. In a case study we compare a scenario of unconstrained 4% per annum growth of aircraft movements at the largest 100 airports worldwide with a scenario in which capacity constraints and delayed runway expansions are included.

Publisher

Association for European Transport