Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


OptiFrame Report Summary

Project ID: 699275
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - OptiFrame (An Optimization Framework for Trajectory Based Operations)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2017-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The main objective of the OptiFrame research project is the application of principles of mathematical modelling and optimization to optimally configure and assess the performance of the Trajectory Based Operations (TBO) concept. The focus is on the pre-tactical operations planning phase. OptiFrame will allow verifying the viability of the TBO concept, to identify the major issues that need to be addressed, and to understand whether, under which conditions, and to what extent the objectives of flexibility of airspace users and predictability of the Air Traffic Management (ATM) system can be achieved. In particular, OptiFrame aims to demonstrate that is possible to assign trajectories to all flights operating in the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) area simultaneously, taking into account the preferences and priorities of all users (i.e., airlines) and optimizing the overall air traffic system efficiency. The core activity and focus of this research project is the development of a framework, consisting of mathematical models and optimization algorithms, which can be used:
1. to address several of the issues and questions arising for the exploitation and deployment of the TBO concept, to fully understand the benefits and limitations of the TBO approach;
2. to investigate the optimal balance between different contrasting KPIs relevant for the TBO concept;
3. as an engine for the preliminary identification, on a daily basis, of promising ATM interventions on a continental scale in Europe (ECAC-wide area).

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

OptiFrame’s activities performed in the period March 2016 - February 2017 have been fully aligned with the research activities and associated objectives and outcomes described in the project’s work plan.

Three major streams of activities were planned and implemented during the first reporting period of the project, namely: project management, technical, and dissemination activities.

The project management activities were related to the development and implementation of the Project Managemnt Plan (D1), the day-to-day management of the project, the organization of the project KoM and of the required webex conferences to discuss project technical and managerial issues. An integrated part of the project management activities were performed within WP8, for the preparation and delivery of the ethics deliverables (D17), (D18). These deliverables describe the procedures for the organization of the first OptiFrame Stakeholders workshop, which took place in Brussels on 5/10/2016.

The technical activities of the project were related to WP2, WP3, WP4, WP5 and WP6. The activities of WP2 were centred on two major project milestones: 1) the development and production of the report summarizing the State of the Art on ATFM, and 2) the organization of the first OptiFrame Stakeholders’ workshop.
Deliverable D07 describes the TBO concept, identifies barriers and enablers for TBO implementation, identifies issues involved in the definition of preferences and priorities for the implementation of the TBO concept, review the ATFM literature which is relevant to the modelling of the TBO concept, and incorporates the views of the ATM stakeholders on preferences and priorities for the implementation of the TBO concept.

The WP3 activities were focussed on the design and implementation of the Data Management Platform (DMP), in order to create instances of the network that will be used to develop and test the OptiFrame trajectory optimization models in WP4. The DMP will support the extraction of data from EUROCONTROL’s Demand Data Repository (DDR), and NEST (Airspace Design and Capacity Planning) systems.

As part of WP4 mathematical models for trajectory based operations were developed. Specifically, two optimisation models that focus on assigning trajectories to flights based on the airspace users’ preferences and priorities, and the constraints of the ATM system have been developed. Furthermore, multi-objective optimisation framework for both models in order to incorporate the preferences and priorities of the stakeholders has been proposed.

WP5 activities were focussed on the design of both exact and heuristic algorithms to solve numerical instances of the developed models.

The work performed within the framework of WP6 was related to the: 1) identification of disturbances affecting TBO operations, 2) identification of operational scenarios that incorporate these disturbances, 3) identification of Key Performance Areas (KPAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that can be used to measure the impacts of the identified disturbances on the performance of the TBO concept, and 4) initial development of the qualitative assessment of the OptiFrame approach The work performed in WP6 provided essential input for the preparation of the stakeholders’ workshop where the identified disturbances, scenarios, KPAs/KPIs were planned to be validated.

The dissemination activities involved work performed in WP7. In addition to the development of a dissemination plan deliverable (D2) and the establishment of the OptiFrame web site ( ), progresses of the OptiFrame project have been also presented in conferences targeting specific audiences. A poster presentation of the project was given at SESAR Innovation Days in Delft to target the ATM community and practitioners. A presentation of the project was also given at the AIRO conference to reach the scientific community. A paper has been submitted (and accepted) for the upcoming ATM R&D Seminar in Seattle (26th-30th June 2017).

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)

OptiFrame is designed to underpin a new approach to Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) based on mathematical modelling and optimization techniques thus providing the basis for a further maturation of the TBO concept and paving the way to a fully integrated performance based Air Traffic Management (ATM) System. Moreover, this project provides a preliminary step towards a full implementation and realization of the Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) philosophy, which is not only limited to more timely information sharing but also foresees a wider participation of airspace users in the Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) decision making process, thus signalling the basic principles, responsibilities and conditions for participating into it.

OptiFrame addresses (indirect) societal impacts. These impacts stem from a greater adherence to the Air Space Users’ (AUs’) preferences, synchronized Air Traffic Flow and Capacity Management (ATFCM) decisions and better use of air traffic system capacity resources. The higher level of efficiency engendered by OptiFrame, will benefit European citizens through the improvement of the on time performance of flights, the improvement of flight schedule reliability, and possibly reduction of fares, and emissions. OptiFrame will also contribute to a decrease of service provision costs for airlines that should be reflected in air transport cost (fair) for passengers.

The mathematical models for the ATFM domain are in general classified as large-scale optimization problems. The solution of these problems in short computational time necessitates advancements of optimization methodologies.
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