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Market forces trade-offs impacting European ATM performance

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - Vista (Market forces trade-offs impacting European ATM performance)

Reporting period: 2017-12-13 to 2018-06-12

Vista, “Market forces trade-offs impacting European ATM performance”, was a SESAR 2020 Exploratory Research project funded through Horizon 2020. The consortium was led by the University of Westminster with partners: Innaxis Research Institute, EUROCONTROL, Icelandair, Norwegian Air Shuttle, SWISS and Belgocontrol.

The effects of conflicting market forces on European performance in ATM have been examined through the evaluation of impact metrics on four key stakeholders and the environment. Vista also studied the impacts of the three major regulatory instruments in Europe: (i) the binding targets set in the context of the Single European Sky Performance Scheme; (ii) the passenger compensation and assistance scheme (Regulation 261) and (iii) the European emissions trading system; plus the goals and targets set out in the EC’s high-level vision document for aviation in 2050 (Flightpath 2050). These instruments are currently not systematically coordinated.

The primary objectives of the project were to quantify:
• Trade-offs between/impacts of primary regulatory and business (market) forces
• Vertical metric trade-offs within any given period
• Horizontal trade-offs between periods, particularly as many targets are not currently mapped from year to year, are discontinuous with other targets or entirely missing
• Whether alignment may be expected to improve/deteriorate as we move closer to Flightpath 2050’s timeframe

Vista comprised a systematic, impact trade-off analysis using classical and complexity metrics, encompassing both fully monetised/quasi-cost impact measures. To achieve these, Vista modelled the current, 2035 and 2050 timeframes based on various factors and their potential evolution. These factors influence the choices of the actors in the ATM system.

Foreground factors have been analysed in detail to understand their impact on the system’s metrics. Background factors were grouped giving them predefined possible values to generate future background scenarios onto which to test the foreground factors. This approach allowed us to model possible future evolution of the system while understanding the impact of individual parameters.
Summary of technical/scientific tasks:

WP2 Data management
• Identification/definition of relevant regulatory/business factors affecting processes/metrics

WP3 Market forces
• Selection of foreground/background factors with an indication of which phase of the ATM process (strategic, pre-tactical, tactical) is affected

WP4 Evaluation framework
• Development of three-layer model covering all ATM phases; modelling of five background scenarios (current, low/high 2035/2050) with the inclusion of ‘supportive’/‘non-supportive’ contexts

WP5 Impact trade-offs
• Definition of metrics to be analysed including door-to-door estimation for passengers, plus new metrics (e.g. cost of uncertainty); analysis of trade-offs across scenarios

Key results:

Strategic results:
1 The main drivers for most of the metrics are demand and price of fuel
2 ANSPs may get close to their maximum capacity and trigger some significant delay even with the envisioned technological advancements
3 ANSPs see their unit rates decrease substantially
4 Airports create most of the delay, and the increase of capacity envisioned by SESAR is insufficient on its own to deal with the traffic increase
5 The cost of emissions only really has an impact on airlines when NOx is taken into account together with an increased price of allowances
6 The average size of aircraft is increasing
7 Future total emissions are expected to substantially increase
8 The reduction of uncertainty regarding departures is expected to have a major impact on the cost of delay to airlines
9 Passengers usually see a moderate decrease of fare with respect to their income

Pre-tactical results:
1 Fuel consumption per flight is flat over time
2 The selection of larger aircraft over time is related to the increase of passenger demand and route length
3 There is an increase in the size of the buffers per flight
4 The number of passengers connecting increases over time

Tactical results:
1 Most passenger-/flight-centric metrics follow similar trends, but there are non-linear differences on how metrics scale
2 Reducing delay has a limited effect on passengers' total door-to-door travel times
3 Reductions in flight arrival delay with passenger arrival delay map close to a 1:1.3 ratio
4 There is a diminishing return of the positive effects of supportive factors in the long-term
5 There is a trade-off between delay performance and cost metrics
6 An improvement in passenger door-to-door times does not necessarily imply an increase in average flight emissions
7 Average emissions per flight tend to decrease over time but the increase in traffic leads to an overall higher impact of aviation on the environment

Modularity of the model layers allows the enhancement or part replacement of the model seamlessly. Vista is capable of capturing and quantifying the relationship between complex metrics across several stakeholders, reproducing classic KPIs and estimating complex/newly-defined metrics.

Vista supports the analysis of how a given metric changes during the different ATM phases: from the expected outcomes of the stakeholders’ plans defined strategically, to the planned operations pre-tactically, to the actual execution phase, tactically.

Further scientific questions can be studied by modifying the model, e.g. the way airlines may compete for new routes and new ANSP structures (including pricing schemes).
There is strong stakeholder demand for this area of research. Both the Performance Review Body’s RP3 White Paper and comments received after a stakeholder consultation emphasise the importance of better understanding the interdependencies between the KPAs and KPIs, on which further work is required. Some view that the trade-offs need to be explored at the state, not EU, level, due to heterogeneity. Indicators in the ATM Master Plan and the SES Performance Scheme differ. Several major stakeholders would like to see a clearer mapping between SESAR deployment and the (binding) SES Performance Scheme targets.

Vista is able to support the ATM industry to better and more reactively adapt to changes in its business, operational and policy environment, through a better understanding of the future key performance area roadmap and interactions between performance areas. This will reduce the risk of future, performance misalignment and unforeseen consequences, and improve the potential of implementing synergistic targets and cost-efficient policy/regulatory measures.

Key impacts regarding specific contributions to active ATM performance-driven assessment programmes include:
• Contributing to/extending the scope of the gap analysis set as a goal of the Network Strategy Plan
• Detecting conflicts/unintended consequences likely to occur within/between the SES high-level goals, the Strategic Performance Objectives of the ATM Master Plan and the SES Performance Scheme
• Contributing to driving quantified rather than the reportedly “conceptual” trade-off assessments between KPIs for different scenarios
• Providing extended insights regarding metric trade-offs (horizontally/vertically) for future editions of the ATM Master Plan and SES Performance Scheme planning horizons

The insights gained through the project’s approach also highlight research needs towards ACARE's four-hour door-to-door goal.