Improvement of Terminal Area Capacity in the New York Airspace
Author(s)Donaldson, Alexander D.; Hansman, R. John
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The New York airspace is the most congested in the U.S. air transportation network. Increasing capacity in this area is critical to ensure the balanced growth of traffic across the U.S. This study compares the total measured runway capacity at the New York airports with the achieved throughput of the New York airspace. The comparison is performed for six airspace configurations representing operations under different wind conditions, visibility and relative arrival and departure demand. The comparison shows that in all cases the capacity of the system of airports is lower than the total capacity of the airports considered individually by approximately 20%. This finding suggests that air traffic throughput in the New York area is constrained by shared airspace resources. If these constraints could be removed, these funding suggest that capacity could be increased approximately 20% without any airport infrastructure or procedure changes. An examination of procedures close to the airports is performed to identify fixed constraints. The impact of these constraints is not captured by the empirical analysis because these constraints are always present. This analysis identifies cases where new navigation technologies could be used to reduce the interactions between airports. The greatest potential for improvement is found to be in the lower performing configurations. Therefore procedural changes close to the airports may provide more benefit in reducing the variability of capacity between different configurations, rather than providing large increases in maximum capacity.
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