Benefits of probabilistic forecasting at airports for capacity management of European airspace: An analysis of case studies

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 9:00 AM
129A (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Claire Sheila Bartholomew, Met Office, Exeter, United Kingdom

The constant increase in global air travel, alongside environmental restrictions, means that capacity management of airspace will continue to be an ongoing challenge and key focus for the aviation community. Meteorology is integral to this as disruptive weather events can significantly reduce the network capacity. The impacts due to bad weather are highly influenced by the preparedness of airports having processes and equipment in place to deal with such events. Accurate forecasts can therefore help to prepare for, and mitigate against, negative impacts due to weather conditions.

Probabilistic forecasting is still a relatively new concept for applications within the aviation industry and so an aim of this work has been to make more of the full potential that this type of meteorological information has to offer, initially at an airport level. By providing likelihoods and an indication of the uncertainties within our forecasts, we can produce far more relevant and valuable information for decision-making and planning purposes.

This presentation will look at the benefits of using probabilistic forecasts at European airport hubs. It will examine the key weather conditions at airports that affect network capacity reduction and how to best identify these from probabilistic forecast outputs. Case studies from dates where weather conditions led to considerable disruption at European airports will be presented, looking at the probabilistic forecasts ahead of the event and showing how these forecasts could be used to indicate a risk of disruption. This work comes under the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking, which is a European-wide programme with the mission ‘to develop a modernized air traffic management system for Europe, which will prevent crippling congestion of the European sky and reduce the environmental impact of air transport'.