Airports can be fraught by mitigating uncertainty and adverse weather conditions. Diane DeSua, director, next-gen programmes, Lockheed Martin explains how the company’s Logic Suites can help manage delays.

A large convective system closes in on a major connecting hub, high wind speeds make landing untenable, lightning closes the tarmac and passengers throughout the air transportation system stare at departure screens signalling one message: delayed. How to best adapt and recover?

To help air transportation stakeholders better manage system disruptions and drive improvements in overall pre-departure, surface and in-flight efficiency, Lockheed Martin developed the Logic Suite of collaborative decision support tools.

By fusing real-time data and predictive capabilities, Logic Suite enables interoperability between stakeholders of airlines, airports and air traffic control operations, providing a more complete view of how disruptions are affecting the entire air traffic system, as well as individual flights.

For surface operations, the Ramp Logic and Departure Logic tools consolidate disparate ground operations data into one common operational view, allowing users to forecast airport surface operations and better manage delays and disruptions.

Ramp Logic provides airlines with information about the effects of an aircraft release in regards to gate occupancy, passenger connections, baggage connections and taxi time. Departure Logic allocates departure slots per runway and departure fixes to airlines based on runway availability and traffic flow restrictions. Individual airlines then fill departure slots with aircraft they select. Departure Logic also publishes the time the aircraft must be ready to leave the gate in order to use the assigned departure slot.

Only logical

During normal operations, Ramp Logic and Departure Logic enhance system efficiency. In a delay scenario, these tools provide additional recovery and cost-avoidance utility. For instance, when conditions limit the available number of departure slots, Departure Logic enables surface operations stakeholders to generate a virtual queue, absorbing a departure delay while an aircraft remains at the gate. This practice also generates fuel and emissions savings by eliminating unnecessary idling of aircraft.

Ramp Logic can also mitigate delays’ systemic impact by helping airlines determine how to most efficiently use limited allocated departure slots – providing priority to high-risk flights and maximising connections. Together, Ramp Logic and Departure Logic generate more connections, more efficiently used departure slots, less surface congestion and lower operating costs – even when recovering from a delay scenario.

Logic Suite’s in-flight capabilities offer in-flight stakeholders disruption-mitigation capabilities similar to those of their surface counterparts. When faced with artificial or natural disruptions to airspace, Logic Suite’s Flight Logic tool allows airline flight planners to adapt collaboratively and efficiently.

Using Flight Logic, planners can perform risk analysis on current and potential future disruptions. Once they determine that a flight should be rerouted a dispatcher may run "what if" scenarios – trying various solutions before committing to a change in flight plan. The tool displays the adjusted risk factor of a reroute for a flight and has the ability to search for alternate trajectories with more appropriate risk profiles. Flight Logic contains advanced capabilities that enable US-based planners and dispatchers to participate in the Collaborative Airspace Constraint Resolution and the Collaborative Trajectory Options Programmes – improving the ability of stakeholders to adapt collaboratively to disruptions.

For the passengers and aviation transportation stakeholders in the hypothetical airport recovering from an outbreak of severe convective weather, Logic Suite provides solutions that enable seamless collaborative flight path rerouting, flight prioritisation and take-off and landing slot management. As storms clear, aircraft will take-off to minimise missed connections, flight planners will reroute to maximise efficiency and runway slots will be allocated in a unified collaborative decision support environment, paving the way for a return to airspace normalcy.