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AURORA Report Summary

Project ID: 699340
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - AURORA (Advanced User-centric efficiency metRics for air traffic perfORmance Analytics)

Reporting period: 2016-10-01 to 2017-03-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

AURORA is a research project funded by the SESAR Joint Undertaking within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 699340. AURORA will address the gaps of the efficiency indicators which are used today to evaluate the performance of the European ATM system and their impact on the airspace users’ operations, but without explicitly taking into account their operational objectives and requirements.
Each actor involved in air transportation activities has its own perception of flight efficiency, but none of them, except may be Air Navigation Service Providers, do consider flight efficiency with a global point of view. Nevertheless, flight efficiency is always considered as a relevant area under study due to the direct economic and environmental impacts. As a consequence, the measurement and monitoring of efficiency indicators are continuously growing to allow for better understanding the drivers of ATM flight efficiency, paving the way for a better management that will bring benefits to every actor.
The AURORA project will advance the state of the art in two main areas. First, AURORA aims to propose new metrics to assess the operational efficiency of the ATM system and to measure how fairly the inefficiencies in the system are distributed among the different airspace users. These new metrics will be developed to encapsulate the airspace users’ operational objectives, considering fuel consumption, schedule adherence and cost efficiency of the flights. User-preferred trajectories will be defined as references for performance analysis purposes. Second, AURORA will also explore and test techniques borrowed from the big data, data science, and information management fields for the collection and analysis of massive amounts of data. These techniques will allow AURORA to propose a new framework for ATM decision-making based on real-time performance monitoring.
To achieve the goals of the project, AURORA has assembled a group of leading organizations in the technical and operational fields required to succeed in the project. AURORA is led by CRIDA, the R&D+i Center of the Spanish Air Navigation Service Provider (ENAIRE), which has sound experience on the performance assessment of ATM concepts. BOEING R&T-E brings its wide experience in the areas of air traffic analytics, trajectory prediction, and aircraft performance modelling to the project. CeADAR is an industry-led centre for applied data analytics research hosted at University College Dublin, and contributes its experience in the areas of data management, real-time analytics and data-stream processing. FLIGHTRADAR24 AB closes the loop providing complete, global positional aircraft data coverage.
The expectations for the AURORA project from international airlines are high. As a result AURORA’s consortium is strengthened with the external participation of four main airlines: Air Europa, Iberia, KLM and Turkish Airlines. These partners engage in workshops to better balance the needs of airspace users with the Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) perspective.

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

AURORA assessed the state-of-the-art of current performance indicators to measure flight efficiency (i.e. Horizontal Flight Efficiency indicator). This analysis included the assessment of the SESAR 2020 Performance Framework to ensure consistency with SESAR 2020, the identification and analysis of indicators which are not officially considered by the Performance Review Unit (PRU) but are used at local level (e.g. 3Di used in NATS), and findings from previous research projects addressing efficiency (e.g. STREAM project).
Based on previous state-of-the-art, a gap analysis of the current indicators was performed. This was the starting point for the definition of enhanced efficiency indicators and associated methods to calculate them based on the combination of multiple data sources and advanced techniques for the calculation of several reference trajectories (e.g. optimum trajectory in terms of fuel consumption taking into consideration the weather conditions) as the basis for obtaining such indicators.
Questions emerging from the analysis were sent to the AURORA’s Airspace Users constituted by IBERIA, KLM, Turkish Airlines, AirEuropa.
On the other hand, data which are required to obtain the current and new efficiency indicators in the laboratory-based experiments were also identified. The indicators were calculated for a limited set of traffic samples.
All this research will be included in deliverable D2.1 ‘Definition of user-centric air traffic efficiency indicators’ which is currently available in a draft version.

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)

AURORA is progressing beyond the state of the art with the definition of new user-centric indicators that consider not only fuel consumption but also schedule adherence and cost-efficiency of the flights, including the weather as a key factor which is impacting the calculation of these indicators. AURORA has also defined indicators that will quantify how fairly the inefficiencies are distributed among the different airspace users.
AURORA has defined a generic trajectory-based airline cost model that approximately captures, to the extent required for air traffic efficiency assessment, the impact of different aspects of the trajectory such as fuel burn on the airlines’ operational costs.
The new AURORA’s indicators and innovative methods to calculate them were tested with a limited set of traffic samples and the feasibility of the proposed methods to process historical data was verified. The advance model was initially considered as simple, flexible and it does not require sensitive information from the airspace users.
AURORA’s indicators will benefit the provision of ATM services thanks to a better knowledge of the airspace users’ business needs and a more accurate understanding of the impact of ATM decisions on the airspace users’ objectives. Available ATC resources are used when and where they are needed, aiming at maximising the throughput of the ATM system and reducing the indirect ATM impact on airspace users’ costs.
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