Investigation of the Potential Impacts of the Entry of Very Light Jets in the National Airspace System
Author(s)Bonnefoy, Philippe A; Hansman, R. John
Very Light Jets (VLJs) constitute a class of three to eight passenger turbofan-powered aircraft that will enter service in 2006 and will need to be integrated into the National Airspace System. An aircraft performance analysis showed similarities between the predicted performance and capability of Very Light Jets and the performance of existing Light Jets. Based on this an analysis of operating patterns of existing Light Jets was used to predict how Very Light Jets will be operated. Using 396 days of traffic data from the FAA Enhanced Traffic Management System (ETMS), the operating patterns of existing Light Jets were analyzed. It was found that 64% of all the flights flown by Light Jets had their origin, destination or both within the top 23 regional airport systems in the continental United States. This concentration of LJ traffic was found in areas of the air transportation system that are currently exhibiting dense traffic and capacity constraints. The structure of the network of routes flown by existing Light Jets was also studied and a model of network growth was developed. It is anticipated that this concentration will persist with emerging Very Light Jet traffic. This concentration of traffic at key areas in the system will have implications for air traffic control management and airport activity. For regional airport systems, core airports are expected to saturate and, reliever airports will become critical for accommodating traffic demand. The entry of Very Light Jets will significantly increase the traffic load at the terminal airspace; Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON). These impacts need to be taken into account to allow a successful integration of these aircraft in the National Airspace System.