ATM Modernization

NATS Simulations Show Room for Improvement in Runway Throughput

By S.L. Fuller | October 6, 2017

File photo

NATS hosted a series of simulations as part of the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) 2020 program, NATS said. These simulations, NATS said, have shown that airport operations at some of Europe’s busiest airports could be made more efficient.

“Whilst these are early stage prototype simulations, the findings have been promising and demonstrate the potential to help airports such as Heathrow, as well as others across Europe, to further enhance runway throughput,” said Claire Pugh, wake optimization concepts and analysis lead at NATS. “We will now use this information and work with our partners within the SESAR 2020 program to prepare for more advanced simulations in 2018.”

NATS said that simulations have studied the potential for refining the separations between departing aircraft. Instead of broad categories of aircraft, individual “pairwise” separations would be used, calculated based on the wake vortices created by each aircraft type. This builds on work done during SESAR 1. The simulations have also studied how different weather conditions might change the dissipation of wake vortices. Both simulations focused on potential application at London Heathrow Airport and how it might be replicated at other busy airports in Europe.

According to NATS, the simulations are part of the Increased Runway and Airport Throughput element of SESAR 2020.

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