Where is the Complexity?

Even in a medium-sized airport, there will be congestion at certain times of the day, with more aircraft arriving than can be accommodated by the runway(s). Resolving this competition for the runway resource requires  that the flow manager take many factors into account, and can lead to overload:

  • Too many unexpected dynamic changes in the situation    
    • sudden change in wind
    • aircraft diverging from expected behaviour
    • one of the runways unavailable due to weather
  • Too many aircraft in a given time frame    
    • too many ETAs (Estimated Time of Arrival) and pilot instructions to calculate/issue
  • Optimisation factors    
    • potential for simultaneous landing on crossing runways
    • heavy aircraft can land close behind light aircraft (but not vice versa)
  • Leads to    
    • communications bottlenecks with air traffic controllers
    • aircraft unnecessarily forced to enter holding pattern
    • sub-optimal use of the runway resource

Next: Too Much Interaction and Complexity Leads to a Need for Delegation

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