Priority rules as a concept for the usage of scarce airport capacity

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The limited capacity available at airports regularly leads to an imbalance between supply and demand at busier airports. It is the runway systems at such airports which often set limitations on the number of possible flight clearances. In addition, existing systems of regulation sometimes use strategic resource allocation as a condition for access to specific infrastructure, as for instance the airport slot allocation in accordance with EU Regulation 95/93 and its amendments in Europe. These regulation systems do indeed restrict the number of demanded slots to a level which the capacity can, on average, handle, but this alone cannot prevent unnecessary waiting times before customers are served. One reason for this can be temporary fluctuations in the capacity on offer (e.g. due to weather influences) and another is deviations from the forecast demand (e.g. due to delayed departures or short-notice changes to flight routes of an aircraft). Today's system applies a first-in-first-out system in allocating runway capacity to demand in the form of planned flights. In order to treat all flights equally, deficits in utilization of the available slots are accepted. The concept presented in this Paper allows user-driven priorities to be set and true-to-schedule user behaviour to be promoted. It furthermore enables prioritization of high-profitability flights during clearance in cases where there are capacity deficits. We show which runway system prioritization is suitable in aviation to increase efficiency in resource utilization. We present KPIs which would be required by an airport to make this effect appropriately measurable.




Grunewald, E., Knabe, F., Rudolph, F., & Schultz, M. (2017). Priority rules as a concept for the usage of scarce airport capacity. In Transportation Research Procedia (Vol. 27, pp. 1146–1153). Elsevier B.V.

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