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Reducing Departure Delays at LaGuardia Airport with Departure-Sensitive Arrival Spacing (DSAS) Operations

Paul U. Lee, Nancy M. Smith, Connie Brasil, Eric Chevalley, Jeffrey Homola, , Hyo-Sang Yoo, , Abhay Borade, Nathan Buckley,
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Abstract: Air traffic management in the New York (NY) metropolitan area presents significant challenges such as excess demand, chronic delays, and inefficient routes. At NASA, a new research effort has been initiated to explore Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) Trajectory Based Operations (TBO) solutions to address lingering problems in the NY metroplex. One of the larger problems in NY is departure delays at LaGuardia Airport (LGA). Constant traffic demand and physical limitations in the number of taxiways and runways cause LGA to often end up with excessive departure queues that can persist throughout the day.At the Airspace Operations Laboratory (AOL) located at NASA Ames Research Center, a TBO solution for “Departure-Sensitive Arrival Spacing” (DSAS) was developed. DSAS allows for maximum departure throughput without adversely impacting the arrival traffic during the peak demand period. The concept uses Terminal Sequencing and Spacing (TSS) operations to manage the actual runway threshold times for arrivals. An interface enhancement to the traffic manager’s timeline was also added, providing the ability to manually adjust inter-arrival spacing to build precise gaps for two or even three departures between arrivals. With this set of capabilities, inter-arrival spacing could be controlled for optimal departure throughput.The concept was prototyped in a human-in-the-loop (HITL) simulation environment to determine operational requirements such as coordination procedures, timing and magnitude of TSS schedule adjustments, and display features for the tower, Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON), and Traffic Management Unit (TMU). An HITL simulation was conducted in August, 2014, to evaluate the concept in terms of feasibility, impact on controller workload, and potential benefits. Three conditions were compared: (1) a baseline condition using new RNAV/RNP procedures (no TSS); (2) the new procedures + TSS; and (3) new procedures + TSS + DSAS schedule adjustments. Results showed that with a maximum arrival demand (40-41 arrivals per hour), departure throughput could be increased from 38 aircraft/hour (baseline condition), to 44 aircraft/hour (TSS condition), to 47 aircraft/hour (TSS + DSAS). The results suggest that DSAS operations have the potential to increase departure throughput at LGA by up to 9 aircraft/hour with little or no impact on arrivals during peak traffic demand period.
Keywords: Controlled for Optimal / Departure / LGA / airport / TSS / Dsas / peak demand / times for Arrivals / Aircraft/hour / schedule

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