Impact of Aircraft Performance Characteristics on Air Traffic Delays


Abstract: Air transportation has been suffering for decades from delays caused by air traffic congestion. This paper presents the effect of aircraft performance differences on air traffic delays. Rate of climb and cruising speeds of 70 different aircraft types are compared to demonstrate performance differences in the current transport aircraft fleet. The effect of these performance differences on air traffic delays is proved by a deterministic calculation of delays for a departure queue consisting of 3 different types of aircraft. In addition, it is shown how a slower cruising speed can cause excessive fuel consumption in an aircraft that is obliged to follow a slower aircraft in an enroute queue. It is concluded that air traffic flow management units should take into account aircraft performance differences for sequencing, and that aviation authorities should consider establishing minimum performance requirements for each altitude for each aircraft category.

Keywords: Aircraft performance, Air traffic management, Air traffic control, Air traffic delay, Flight profile

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