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COCTA Report Summary

Project ID: 699326
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - COCTA (Coordinated capacity ordering and trajectory pricing for better-performing ATM)

Reporting period: 2016-04-15 to 2016-10-14

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Increasing the efficiency of Air Traffic Management (ATM) reduces the fares for passengers and the costs for air cargo shippers. Moreover, it makes the European air transport industry more competitive. Besides cost reductions, efficiency improvements might also reduce fuel burn, benefitting the environment by abating CO2 emissions. It goes without saying that the high degree of safety must not be negatively affected by any proposed measure.

If ATM capacity exceeds demand, costs for providing ATM services and consequently ATM charges are above the inevitable level. In case of capacity shortages, airlines and other aircraft operators are forced to deviate from their optimum flight plans, leading especially to delays and additional fuel burn.

The COCTA project aims at increasing efficiency by better matching ATM capacity and demand. This will be achieved by a structural redesign of the ATM value chain as well as by several innovations within the system. On the demand side, aircraft operators will be incentivized to reveal their preferences at an earlier stage and to also signal their degree of flexibility with respect to flight times and routes. On the supply side, capacity provision by different Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) in neighbouring regions should be better coordinated by the Network Manager (NM), who serves as an intermediate institution between capacity supply and demand within the COCTA framework.

The redesign of the ATM value chain is conceptual research, i.e. the numerous possible options for the changed institutional environment will have to be identified and analyzed within the project. This includes for example the role of the regulator as well as different preferences of aircraft operators which are influenced, besides other factors, by their respective business model. Consequently, the different interests of all stakeholders are taken into account. The COCTA project thereby links the results of recent research on ATM economics with an innovative modelling approach and a conceptual design which has not been analyzed before.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In the first six months of this two-year project, the COCTA project team not only undertook an in-depth review of the relevant literature and the available data, but also developed a first simplified model which shows that a better coordination of capacity supply in neighbouring regions is indeed a suitable measure for reducing the overall costs of ATM service provision. This model, which is still based on an illustrative academic example rather than actual traffic data, was accepted for presentation at the annual SESAR Innovation Days 2016. Future results will, amongst other things, include models based on real traffic data. Moreover, from a methodological perspective, stochastic terms will be included in the modelling.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The COCTA project team has also explored some options to reduce delays which passengers experience in case of ATM capacity shortages. An optimisation model was developed to minimize this delay, and at the same time to minimize disruption of departures and arrivals from airports with high traffic. The results, based on two real-world case studies, suggest that it is possible to both reduce delays which affect passengers and improve predictability of departure and arrival times at airports. Furthermore, after examining the results, in a follow up discussion the COCTA project team argues that further improvements are possible, once all the COCTA key research ideas are implemented. Last but not least, the results obtained challenge some elements of the current European regulatory scheme for the ATM stakeholders. Four months after the COCTA project kick-off, a paper was sent to one of the leading journals in the field of transportation (the paper was accepted for publication three months after submission).
Record Number: 196367 / Last updated on: 2017-03-29
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