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Assessing Future ATC

Capacity Requirements

A User Guide

Version 1.1

July 2002

EUROCONTROL
Capacity Enhancement Function
Assessing Future ATC Capacity Requirements – A User Guide

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction..............................................................................................................2
1. Purpose and Structure of the Document............................................................3
2. Capacity Definitions and Assessments..............................................................4
2.1 Different notions of capacity ..............................................................................4
2.1.2 Sector Capacity ..........................................................................................4
2.1.3 Declared Sector Capacity ...........................................................................4
2.1.4 ACC Capacity .............................................................................................4
2.2 ACC Capacity Indicators ...................................................................................4
2.2.1 Nominal ACC Capacity ...............................................................................5
2.2.2 Observed ACC capacity..............................................................................8
3. Optimum Capacity .............................................................................................10
3.1 Capacity-Delay-Demand interaction................................................................10

3.2 The Cost model ..............................................................................................11

3.3 Optimum Capacity .........................................................................................12


4. Demand Forecast ...............................................................................................13
4.1 Principles ........................................................................................................13

4.2 Traffic growth forecast.....................................................................................13

4.3 Route network evolution and utilisation ...........................................................14

4.4 Airport capacity ...............................................................................................14

4.5 Forecast Demand at ACC level.......................................................................14


5. Future Capacity Requirements .........................................................................16
5.1 General principles ...........................................................................................16

5.2 FAP Short Term Requirements .......................................................................16

5.3 FAP Medium-Term Requirements...................................................................17


Annex 1 : Acronyms ..............................................................................................18
Annex 2 : ATC Capacity Related Definitions........................................................19
Annex 3 : Reference Documents & Contacts.......................................................22
Annex 4 : PACT ......................................................................................................23
Annex 5 : FAP Reverse CASA Methodology ........................................................25
Annex 6 : Assessment of Short-Term ACC Capacity Requirement....................27

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Assessing Future ATC Capacity Requirements – A User Guide

This document supersedes “ATC Capacity Targets Setting, a user guide” version 1.0.
This second version reflects changes in terminology and progress in the
development of the nominal ACC capacity indicators. Annex 2 (definitions) has been
added and Annex 4 (PACT, previously Annex 3) has been updated. Other changes
are editorial.

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Assessing Future ATC Capacity Requirements – A User Guide

INTRODUCTION

The evolution and steady increase in air traffic delays in recent years has
demonstrated the need to improve medium-term capacity planning at the level of the
European, gate-to-gate1, Air Traffic Management (ATM) Network.

Consequently, a new performance-driven planning process has been introduced with


the European Convergence and Implementation Plan (ECIP), which focuses on ATM
capacity enhancement as illustrated below.

Traffic statistics
Current
Delay statistics
traffic analysis
ACC capacity
assessment
Economic forecast
User demand Overall growth rates
Traffic forecast
Airport plans ACC demand
forecast
Route network plan

Assessing ACC
Policy on capacity Proposed ACC
delay/capacity requirements capacity profiles
targets

Consultation + Agreed ACC


approval process capacity profiles
(ECIP)

Capacity plans
Capacity planning
Impact assessment

Implementation
operations

Capacity Planning Process

Central to this process is the quantification of performance requirements for


individual Air Traffic Control (ATC) units, based on an analysis of the overall
European capacity situation and its forecast evolution.

The development of the required capacity by Air Navigation Services Providers is


supported by EUROCONTROL’s European ATM Programme (EATMP)2.

1
Gate-to-gate includes all the phases of a flight, i.e. the airborne phase, and also parking, taxiing, take-off and
landing phases.
2
As part of the Capacity Enhancement Function, a Capacity Enhancement Service has been created within the
EATMP to provide a single point of co-ordination for (i) all Agency actions aiming at the timely delivery of more
ATM capacity to meet air traffic demand in Europe in the medium to long term, (ii) ensuring the cohesion between
the short-term optimised use of capacity and medium/long term capacity enhancements activities (iii) obtaining
commitment from stakeholders for capacity enhancement and monitor achievement

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1. PURPOSE AND STRUCTURE OF THE DOCUMENT

Purpose

The purpose of this document is to describe the principles and processes


applied to assess ATC capacity and to derive future capacity requirements for
the short and medium term.

It is intended primarily for managers responsible for planning the measures required
to meet those requirements, and for all staff involved in the actual delivery of ATC
capacity increase, both at national level and within the EUROCONTROL Agency.

This edition reflects the current status of development of the methodology and tools
which have evolved over several years of experience with performance driven
planning.

More details on models and tools used in assessing requirements are available in the
annexes for the more technically oriented reader.

Structure

The document is split into two main parts:

The first part describes how capacity, delay and demand interact with each
other, and how an optimum capacity can be calculated.
- Section 2 defines capacity and how it is assessed.
- Section 3 features the relationships between capacity, delay and demand,
and describes how the optimum capacity can be determined.

The second part takes into account the future demand, and derives the
corresponding capacity requirements.
- Section 4 describes how future air traffic demand is forecast.
- Section 5 explains the process, parameters and principles used to
generate capacity requirements.

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Assessing Future ATC Capacity Requirements – A User Guide

2. CAPACITY DEFINITIONS AND ASSESSMENTS

2.1 Different notions of capacity

Capacity can be determined and measured in different ways and at different levels.

An Area Control Centre (ACC) comprises a number of individual sectors, and each
sector has a certain capacity.

2.1.2 Sector Capacity

ACC sector capacity is defined in terms of the number of flights which may enter a
sector per hour over a period of time (3 hours), without causing excessive work load
for the sector control team, and therefore without impeding safety. Capacity thus
defined is not a fixed value; it varies depending on traffic patterns, technical
environment and individual controller performance.

2.1.3 Declared Sector Capacity

The declared sector capacity is the maximum sector entry rate (number of
flights/hour), assessed by the Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), and declared
to the Central Flow Management Unit (CFMU), so that the sector can be protected
from overload.

While the planning mechanisms should aim at implementing a capacity


commensurate with the traffic demand, there are times when the planned demand
exceeds the sector declared capacity. In these circumstances, the CFMU regulates
the number of flights planned to enter that sector by assigning take-off slots; an Air
Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) regulation is applied, resulting in delays3.

2.1.4 ACC Capacity

The notion of sector capacity is an efficient way of managing day-to-day operations


and can also be used for short term planning. Capacity planning requires
comparison between similar airspace volumes, and because sectorisation may be
restructured on a fairly frequent basis, the notion of ACC capacity is a more stable
indicator4 for medium term planning when working at European level. It is also
appropriate for sizing the ACC future requirements in terms of staff and equipment.

ACC capacity can be defined as the regular hourly traffic that can enter the
ACC without generating excessive workload of the control team in any one of
the sectors. This value is calculated by treating the whole ACC as if it were one
sector.

2.2 ACC Capacity Indicators

Two basic methods are used to calculate ACC hourly capacity indicators. The first
one is based on the declared capacity of each of the sectors of the ACC and
assesses the “nominal” capacity. The other method measures demand against the
actual delay generated by the ACC, is the “observed” capacity.

3
Essentially, ATFM delays are caused by several factors, like ATC capacity, airport capacity or weather conditions ;
but lack of ATC capacity accounts for 70% of those ATFM delays.
4
Whilst ACC airspace volume is more stable than that of individual sectors, there are occasions when control of
airspace is transferred between ACCs, and this needs to be taken into account when comparing capacity values.

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2.2.1 Nominal ACC Capacity

The nominal ACC capacity is computed from the declared capacities of the
individual sectors within the ACC.

As it is based on the declaration of the individual sector capacities made by the


ANSP to the CFMU, this indicator therefore reflects directly any enhancement to
sector capacity and/or sector creations independently of delays generated, and of
network effects or other external factors.

As illustrated in the following example, the FACET (Fast ACC Capacity Evaluation
Tool) simulation homogeneously increases the traffic volume from its current level
until one of the sectors is saturated (meaning the traffic in this sector has reached the
sector declared capacity). At this point, the traffic flow throughout the whole ACC is
the maximum which can be handled without causing ATFM delays (assuming the
current traffic pattern); it is considered to be the Nominal Capacity with zero delay.

Figure 1 : Example of ACC Nominal “zero delay” Capacity Assessment


The tool simulates a traffic increase of the same amplitude (in percentage) for each route
going through the ACC. The example below features an ACC composed of 3 sectors and
crossed by 3 traffic flows. Sector S3 is crossed by 2 flows giving traffic of 5 +15 = 20 flights/hr.
It reaches its declared capacity (24 flights/hr) when the flows increase by 20%. As soon as
one sector reaches its declared capacity the ACC capacity is considered to be equal to the
traffic going through the ACC at this point (e.g. 30 + 20% = 36 flights/hr).

Current Traffic Simulated Traffic

Declared Capacities Declared Capacities 36


Capacity
Capacity 35 35
30
24 24
25 25 18
20 12
15
10

S1 S2 S3 Whole ACC S1 S2 S3 Whole ACC

10 flights/hr 10+20%=12

S1 S1
S3 S3
S2 S2

5 flights/hr 5+20%=6 15+20%=18


15 flights/hr

For ACCs with a capacity margin (i.e. not generating delays), the FACET
(zero delay) nominal capacity indicator is the baseline used to
assess capacity requirements.

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A Portable ACC Capacity evaluation Tool (PACT) developed by the


EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre, has been made available to ANSPs for
testing. PACT enables ANSPs to calculate the Nominal ACC capacity indicator (zero
delay) for their ACC, for any configuration.

Nominal Capacity may also be calculated for different degrees of saturation.

In the previous example, the nominal ACC capacity (zero delay) was calculated as
the throughput at the point when the first sector became saturated. However, an
ACC with one sector operating at capacity can continue to accept more traffic in the
remaining sectors, in theory until every sector is saturated.

To reflect this, the CFMU also calculates a ‘saturated’ capacity. This measures ACC
capacity at the point where every sector is saturated. To do this, the traffic volume
has to be increased at different levels for different flows, i.e. not homogeneously as
for the zero delay indicator.

The "saturated" nominal ACC capacity indicator is calculated as the sum of the
individual sector capacities, divided by the average number of active sectors crossed
by each flight5.

Figure 2: Example of ACC Nominal “saturated" Capacity Assessment

When Sector 3 reaches its declared capacity, the other sectors still have spare capacity. This
spare capacity can be used if the traffic flows are increased in non-homogeneous way; one
possibility, illustrated below, would be for the flow through Sector 1 to increase by 150%,
whereas the two other flows would increase respectively by 100% and 6%. The "Saturated"
nominal ACC capacity indicator is calculated as the sum of sector capacities divided by the
number of sectors crossed; in this case:

• the sum of declared sector capacities = 84


• the number of sectors crossed is (10 + 15 + 20)/30 = 1,5
• the saturated nominal capacity indicator is 84/1,5 = 56 flights/hr

Current Traffic Simulated Traffic


Declared Capacities 56
Declared Capacities
Capacity Capacity
35 35
30
24
25 25 24
20
15
10

S1 S2 S3 Whole ACC S1 S2 S3 Whole ACC


10 flights/hr
10+150%=25

S1 S1
S3
S3
S2
S2
5 flights/hr
15 flights/hr 5+100%=10 15+6%=14

5
The average number of active sectors crossed by each flight during a given period is obtained by dividing the total
number of sector entries by the total demand on the ACC.

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The FACET nominal capacity indicator focuses only on the peak period and assumes
that the ACC operates in optimum sector configuration. In reality, as traffic levels vary
throughout the day, and from day to day, the capacity offered by an ACC is adapted
accordingly, by opening or closing (collapsing) different sectors.

The capacity offered by an ACC is different for each sector configuration.

Figure 3 shows how sector configuration can affect the traffic in an ACC. The
example features an ACC with 3 configurations (C1, C2, C3) as demand varies
through the day.

Figure 3
Flights Flights
per hour per hour
Actual Traffic ATFM

Nominal
C1
capacity

ATFM
Delayed Flights
C2

Capacity
T raffic Traffic Dem a n d
C3
Demand

0 6 12 18 24 Time 0 6 12 18 24 Time

Traffic Demand with no Traffic demand with sector


configuration constraint configuration constraint

It may happen, as illustrated above, that the sector configurations do not properly
match traffic demand and that the number of sectors open at a particular time is not
adequate to meet the corresponding demand, meaning that ATFM delays can occur
not only when demand exceeds the nominal maximum capacity (C1), but also when
the configuration is not optimally adapted (C2).

The nominal6 ACC capacity for both ‘zero delay’ and ‘saturated’ values can be
calculated for any sector configuration used throughout the day.

Nominal ACC capacity indicators are defined for:


- the maximum configuration used during the day,
- all configurations used over 24 hours, and
- the configurations used between 0600 and 2200

For each of the above, a zero delay and a saturated capacity value is calculated,
resulting in 6 nominal capacity indicators:

• Maximum configuration, first sector saturated (max/zero delay);


• Maximum configuration, every sector saturated (max/saturated);
• All configurations, first sector saturated (offered/zero delay);
• All configurations, every sector saturated (offered/saturated);
• 0600-2200, first sector saturated, (06-22/zero delay)
• 0600-2200, every sector saturated, (06-22/saturated)

This list will be refined to a maximum of two indicators per ACC, published each
AIRAC cycle, in order to permit effective monitoring of offered capacity.

6
Remember, nominal capacity simply means that the ACC capacity is derived from the declared sector capacities,
which are nominal values.

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The CFMU also calculates the Nominal Zero Delay indicator for each ACC in its
maximum configuration, but this is the maximum configuration used during the day.
Thus, if the declared maximum configuration is not used (for example, due to lack of
staff or insufficient demand), the FACET/PACT and CFMU results will differ.
Additionally, the CFMU analyses actual traffic during the period of maximum
configuration, which may not coincide with the peak three hours, analysed by
FACET/PACT, if the sectorisation is not optimally configured.

Although in theory, the FACET/PACT indicator and the Nominal (max.


configuration/zero delay) indicator should be the same, the FACET/PACT indicator
for the same period is normally higher due to the more dynamic data available to the
CFMU.

For the nominal capacity indicators to be robust, it is essential that the CFMU
Environment (details of sector capacities and configurations, provided by ANSPs), is
accurate and up to date, and that changes to offered configurations are notified to the
CFMU.

2.2.2 Observed ACC capacity

Observed Capacity is an indicator of the effective capacity offered by the ACC that
day.

It is assessed from the observed air traffic data, and the actual ATFM delays, using
the Computer Assisted Slot Allocation algorithm (CASA) of the CFMU. CASA is
normally used to regulate traffic entering a sector by translating this sector's declared
capacity (e.g. a rate of 30 flights/hr) into a time interval (eg. 2 min/flight) and by
assigning entry slots at this interval to flights planned to enter the sector. This
generates ATFM delays.

Here the ACC is considered as a single elementary sector; the 'observed' ACC
capacity is defined as the 'declared' capacity of that elementary sector which would
generate the same ATFM delay as was actually observed.

Unfortunately, the CASA algorithm cannot simply be employed using an inverse


function i.e. given delay figures it cannot provide capacity values. Hence for each
ACC it is necessary to consider the delay which would have been observed for a
hypothetical estimate of capacity. The calculated delay is then compared to that
which was observed and an iterative modification cycle commences until the CASA
determined delay within an ACC for an estimated value of capacity converges to that
observed. Each iteration takes into account the network effect, meaning the
interaction of all the ACC across Europe and the resulting traffic and delays.

This methodology is referred to as the “reverse CASA” 7.

This method can only be used for those ACC generating ATFM delays.

For ACCs generating ATFM delays, the observed capacity is the


baseline used to assess capacity requirements.

7
See Annex 4 for a more detailed description of the FAP/reverse CASA methodology.

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Advantages and Limitations of the Observed Capacity Indicators

1. The observed ACC capacity is independent of the declaration of the individual


sector capacities and configurations made by the ANSP to the CFMU, with
varying degrees of quality and realism. It provides an independent and
homogeneous view of ACC capacities.
2. This method takes into account the network effect, i.e.the fact that an ACC may
be protected by the regulations imposed by its neighbours. This can lead to an
over-estimation of its capacity. Also from year to year, observed capacity may
vary independently of the actual enhancements made by the ANSP.

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Assessing Future ATC Capacity Requirements – A User Guide

3. OPTIMUM CAPACITY

“Capacity has a cost, but insufficient capacity, which in turn generates delay,
has an even larger cost. Both capacity and delay costs are borne by airspace
users.”8 It is therefore necessary to determine the level of ATC capacity which
can be justified from a cost point of view i.e. the optimum trade-off between
delay and cost of ATC capacity.

3.1 Capacity-Delay-Demand interaction

The relationship between capacity and delay is not linear. More precisely, when the
demand is close to the maximum available capacity, there is a saturation of the ACC,
leading to a very sharp increase in delay.

A simple capacity/delay curve9 can represent how delay, capacity and demand
interact with each other for a given ACC.

Figure 4 below features a typical ACC where the Delay increases as the capacity
available decreases for a given level of traffic demand.

Figure 4
Delay
(minutes
per flight)

Demand is constant (e.g. current demand)

Capacity
(Number of flights/hour)

This capacity/delay curve will be used to elaborate the cost model, described in
section 3.2.

8
See Performance Review Report (PRR4), year 2000, p.25
9
The FAP tool features another similar curve, which represents delay as a function of the capacity/demand ratio.

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3.2 The Cost model

In order to make the best trade-off between the cost of delay and the cost of
capacity, and to set consistent targets, economical data are introduced.

It is possible to derive the cost curve, as described in Figure 5 below.

Figure 5

Delay Cost (a)


M€ a) The cost of delay is derived from the delay
capacity curve, using the operating costs of
aircraft operations. Typically, each minute of
delay is considered to generate a certain
cost.

Capacity
(flights/hr)

Capacity cost (b)


M€

Total Cost curve


© Capacity
M€ Total cost
(flights/hr)

Capacity b) The cost of Air Traffic Services, as


cost recorded by the Central Route
Charge Office (CRCO ), is assumed
Delay cost
to be a linear function of the capacity
provided
Capacity
(flights/hr)

c) The total cost curve is the sum of the delay


cost and the capacity cost

ALL THE ABOVE GRAPHS ARE VALID FOR A GIVEN DEMAND (e.g. the current demand)

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3.3 Optimum Capacity

For a given demand (so far, only the current demand has been considered), the total
cost curve is used to determine the Current Operating Point and the Optimum
Operating Point, as represented in Figure 6.

The Optimum Operating Point, which gives the lowest total cost of operation,
represents the best trade-off between the cost of providing capacity and the cost of
delay. This point provides for the Optimum Capacity (from a total cost point of view)
and optimum delay level for that ACC. This corresponds to the optimum level of
ATFM delay at overall ECAC level.

Figure 6

Optimum Operating point

M€

Operating Point 1

Capacity

The Current Operating Point represents the cost of operating at current capacity.

Either the ACC capacity is above the Optimum capacity (Operating Point 1 in Fig. 6).
This is the case for many ACCs within the ECAC area with spare capacity10.

Or ACC capacity is lower than the Optimum capacity (Operating Point 2 in Fig. 7).

In this case, there is a capacity shortfall; the capacity shortfall being the
difference between the current operating point and the Optimum Operating
point, as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7

Operating Point 2
Optimum Operating point

M€

Cost of
Capacity
Shortfall

Capacity Shortfall

10
This does not necessarily mean that such an ACC never generates delays: due to variation in demand,
unexpected events, sector opening patterns (see 2.2.1), or for other reasons, an ACC with an average capacity
above the demand can still generate significant delay at times.

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4. DEMAND FORECAST

The cost curve built so far determines the optimum capacity for the current traffic
demand. However, to assess requirements for the future, it is necessary to forecast
the evolution of the demand. Once assessed, the future demand will be incorporated
into the model in an updated cost curve.

4.1 Principles

The future air traffic demand at ACC level is assessed by the FAP tool, using as
inputs:
- the overall traffic growth rates, established by the STATFOR (STATistical
FORecasting) process as described in Section 4.2 below;
- the route network evolution and utilisation, simulated by the System for
Assignment and Analysis at Macroscopic level (SAAM), an airspace modelling tool
described in Section 4.3 below;
- Airports capacities from the Eurocontrol Airports Database (See Section 4.4).

Figure 8

C u rrent
Traffic

A irports data
Base STATFOR SAAM

P lanned Growth rates


Traffic on
Capacity per traffic axis
new route network

FAP

Forecast dem a n d
per ACC

4.2 Traffic growth forecast

The STATFOR service processes air traffic statistics at European level (using
CFMU and CRCO data) and produces traffic forecasts. These forecasts take into
account different sets of assumptions, e.g. economic growth, airline productivity,
competition from other means of transport, as well as the ‘maximum aircraft
movements per year’ at congested airports. The STATFOR forecasts are based on a
certain number of “traffic flows” between a number of origin/destination zones (ODZ).
An ODZ corresponds to a major airport or to a group of airports. These zones cover
the entire world but are naturally more detailed for the European area. STATFOR
provides traffic growth forecast for both different ODZ pairs and for the countries
overflown.

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4.3 Route network evolution and utilisation

The air traffic demand at the level of a particular ATC unit is clearly influenced by the
distribution of traffic over the European route network.

To assess the future demand for individual ACCs, simulations are performed to show
how the traffic currently handled by the CFMU would be distributed over the future
route network (e.g. the Air Route Network-Version 4 (ARN.V4) which supported the
introduction of Reduced Vertical Separation Minima in January 2002), following the
user’s preference for the shortest routes along that future network, and without
vertical profile constraints.

The simulations of the new route network are made using the System for Assignment
and Analysis at a Macroscopic Level tool (SAAM) used to support the work of the
EATMP Airspace Management and Navigation Unit.

4.4 Airport capacity

Growth of air traffic may be constrained by the capacity of airports. This factor is
considered at two levels:
• The annual traffic growth forecast by STATFOR takes account of possible annual
capacity limits of the major airports;
• The growth of traffic during the peak period measured by FAP takes account of
planned airport capacity (movements per hour) taken from the EUROCONTROL
Airports Data Base.

4.5 Forecast Demand at ACC level

FAP translates the STATFOR forecast growth rate per airport pair (Origin/Destination
Zone (ODZ) pair) into forecast traffic demand at ACC level. For that purpose it takes
a traffic sample from the CFMU and augments it by “cloning” existing flights : i.e. for
each ODZ pair, new flights are created in proportion of the STATFOR growth rates.

FAP assumes that, in the absence of any contrary information, the characteristics of
the current traffic distribution over time throughout the day will remain valid during the
prediction period, for each ODZ (as illustrated in Figure 9a).

Figure 9a

Flights/hour
Traffic augmentation
90
80
70
60 Cloned
Flights
50
40
30 Actual
Flights
20
10
0
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 101112 131415 161718 192021 222324
Time/hour

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Nevertheless, airport capacity constraints may limit the growth potential on the ODZ
pair considered. To gauge this effect FAP adjusts the timing of new flights contained
within the forecast growth, so that the declared hourly capacity is respected. (In a
way roughly representing the action of a scheduling committee at a “coordinated”
airport11).

The FAP model thus tries:

- first to spread peak traffic demand in time, by shifting the creation of new flights,
by up to one hour, to a non-saturated period (as illustrated in the following
diagram);

- then to ‘displace’ further new demand to the nearest non-saturated airport


available in the same ODZ.

It does not accommodate additional new demand when no alternative airport can be
identified in the same ODZ.

Figure 9b
Displaced or non-
accommodated Flights
Traffic augmentation
90
80 Shifted Capacity
Flights
70
Flights/hour

60 Cloned
Flights
50
40
30 Actual
Flights
20
10
0
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Time/hour

11
At capacity constrained airports in the European Community, Council Regulation EEC 95/93 regulates the
allocation of scheduling slots to its aircraft operators through a formal coordination process, prior to the
establishment of flight schedules for the next season. When a user request for slot can not be accommodated,
the coordinator indicates the nearest alternative slot.

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5. FUTURE CAPACITY REQUIREMENTS

5.1 General principles

Capacity requirements for the short and medium-term are assessed on the basis of
the high-level capacity objective of the ATM Strategy for the years 2000 and beyond
(ATM 2000+)12 “to provide sufficient capacity to accommodate the demand in typical
busy hour periods without imposing significant operational, economic or
environmental penalties13 under normal circumstances.”

The forecast of the air traffic demand to be accommodated is based on the results
of the simulation of traffic flows from the modelling described in paragraph 4.

The criteria for deciding the level of penalties to be considered ‘significant’ are set
by the EUROCONTROL (Provisional) Council (PC) based on the recommendations
of the Performance Review Commission (PRC), the ATM/CNS Consultative Group
(ACG) and of the EUROCONTROL Agency.

The criteria differ between the short-term (one year) and the medium-term (five
years) :
- For the short-term, there is little room for manoeuvre, only minor adjustments to
the existing infrastructure and operating procedures are possible. The emphasis
tends to be on removing existing bottlenecks, i.e. improving the capacity without
aiming for optimum.
- For the medium-term, there is more possibility to plan for adequate means to be
put in place to reach the optimum.

5.2 FAP Short Term Requirements

Short term capacity requirements are associated to the average delay per flight to be
achieved. The Provisional Council (PC) defines each year the target average
delay per flight at overall European level (ECAC).

This target features what is considered to be “achievable” within one year. It


therefore usually differs from the optimum delay, which is the average delay if each
ACC would reach its Optimum Capacity. This sub-optimum figure14 is above the
optimum delay.

This short-term global delay target for the ECAC zone, is translated into specific
capacity levels for each individual ACC by the FAP model15 .

12
The ATM 2000+ Strategy was adopted by Transport Ministers at their MATSE 6 meeting in January 2000
13
Significant penalties means to make the trade-off between capacity and delay cost.
14
For example, in 2001, if every ACC had reached its Optimum capacity, the average delay per flight would be about
1 minute. However, the short-term average delay target agreed by the PC was 2.8 minutes for Summer 2001 and
is 2.5 minutes for Summer 2002.
15
See annex 6.

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5.3 FAP Medium-Term Requirements

The capacity profiles given in the European Convergence & Implementation Plan
(ECIP) for each ACC.

Figure 10

Capacity
Flights per hour

Demand
Increase
Capacity Adjusted targets Year N+6
Year N
Surplus Target
Year N Capacity
Optimum Targets
increase
Optimum Year N+6
capacity
Year N Sub-optimum targets
Shortfall
Year N

Capacity
Year N

Current Short Term 2006 time

For intermediate years, capacity levels are interpolated to 2006.

The capacity target level for 2006 corresponds to the cost optimum for the ACC and
to the overall delay target adopted by the PC16 represent the ACC capacity required
to cover:
- the forecast traffic increase,
- and, if appropriate, the current capacity shortfall, i.e., the difference between the
optimum capacity and the current capacity (as described in section 3.3).

The figure illustrates an ACC with a capacity surplus (pink), an ACC with a capacity
shortfall (blue) and an ACC with optimum capacity (green).

For the ACC with optimum capacity, the requirement is only to cover the forecast
traffic increase. For the ACC with a capacity shortfall the requirement is to cover
both the shortfall and the traffic increase, and for the one with a surplus the
requirement is to achieve the optimum capacity in the medium term, without costly
over provision.

16
PC/10 (5 April ’01) agreed that a delay target should reduce progressively to reach the optimum level of 1
min/flight in 2006.

27/01/03 CEF 17
Assessing Future ATC Capacity Requirements – A User Guide

Annex 1 : Acronyms
ACC : Area Control Centre

AMOC : ATFM Modelling Capability Tool (FAP Component)

ATC : Air Traffic Control

ATFM : Air Traffic Flow Management

ATM : Air Traffic Management

ATM 2000+ : EUROCONTROL ATM Strategy for the Years 2000+

CASA : Computer Aided Slot Allocation

CEF : Capacity Enhancement Function

CEM : Capacity Enhancement Manager

CFMU : Central Flow Management Unit

EATMP : European Air Traffic Management Programme

ECAC : European Civil Aviation Conference

ECIP : European Convergence and Implementation Plan

EEC : EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre

FAP : Future ATM Profile (set of simulation tools at EEC)

FACET : Fast ACC Capacity Evaluation Tool

LCIP : Local Convergence Implementation Plan

MECA: Model for Economical evaluation of Capacities in the ATM system (FAP)

ODZ : Origin/Destination Zone (STATFOR)

PACT: Portable ACC Capacity evaluation Tool

PC : Provisional Council

PRC : Performance Review Commission

PRU : Performance Review Unit

ROI: Return on Investment

SAAM : System for traffic Assignment and Analysis at Macroscopic Level

STATFOR : Statistics and Forecasting

UAC : Upper Area Control centre

18 CEF 27/01/03
Assessing Future ATC Capacity Requirements – A User Guide

Annex 2 : ATC Capacity Related Definitions

The definitions in this paper are provided to assist with understanding of capacity
planning documentation. Unless formally defined elsewhere, they have no
official status.

TERM DEFINITION UNIT REFERENCE

ATFM delay Duration between the last take - off time requested by the Min./flight CFMU ATFM
aircraft operator and the take-off slot allocated by the Summary
CFMU following a regulation communicated by the FMP, in 2001
relation to an airport or enroute sector location.

ATFM ATFM delay caused by regulations applied by the CFMU at Min./flight


enroute the request of the FMP to protect enroute ATC sectors from
Delay

delay overload.

Delay Target To achieve an average ATFM enroute delay* per flight in Min./flight ECIP Level 1
the ECAC area during the Summer* season, with an 2002-2006, p.
optimum balance between the cost of delay and the cost of 10
providing additional capacity.

The Provisional Council (PC/10) approved a target of one


minute average ATFM delay per flight by Summer 2006.

Peak Period The time of the highest demand during the measured
period.
Period

For baseline* calculation and assessing capacity


requirement, FAP extracts the busiest 3 consecutive hours
occurring within 2 AIRAC cycles in the Summer* season.
st st
Summer Period from 1 May until 31 October
1. Ability of the ATC system or any of its subsystems or an ICAO ATFM
Capacity operating position to provide service to a/c during flights /hr Handbook –
normal activities. It is expressed in numbers of a/c Second
entering a specified portion of the airspace in a given Edition 1994
period of time. The maximum peak capacity which may
be achieved for short periods may be appreciably
higher than the sustainable value.
ATC Capacity

Basic CFMU
2. Expressed as the number of a/c entering a sector, Handbook –
overflying a point, departing from an Aerodrome, or General and
arriving at an Aerodrome or set of Aerodromes per CFMU
hour. Capacity may vary during the hours of a day and systems,
between the days of a week. para. 8.11

3. Capacity expresses the capability of the ATM (ATC & EATMP


Airports) system in a given airspace (e.g. a particular glossary
ACC; a number of ACCs within a region; all ACCs of Edition 1.0, p.
ECAC) to cope with the traffic demand. 153.
Sector Capacity

Sector Number of flights that may enter a sector per hour over a flights/hr Page 3
capacity period of time (3 hours), without causing excessive
workload for the sector control team, and therefore without
impeding safety.

27/01/03 CEF 19
Assessing Future ATC Capacity Requirements – A User Guide

TERM DEFINITION UNIT REFERENCE


Sector Capacity

Declared Maximum sector entry rate (number of flights per hour), as flights/hr Page 3
Sector assessed by the ANSP, and declared to the CFMU so that
Capacity sector can be protected from overload.
ACC

ACC Regular hourly traffic that can enter the ACC without flights/hr Page 3
Capacity generating excessive workload of the control team in any
one of the sectors.

Baseline ACC capacity calculated by FAP during the measured


Capacity period, used as a reference for target setting.

ACC Computed capacity derived from declared capacity of the


Nominal individual sectors within the ACC. Can be determined for flights/hr Page 4
Capacity any sector configuration.

Q ACC Theoretical maximum ACC capacity at the point where


Nominal every sector is saturated. Calculated by the CFMU, by
Saturated dividing the sum of the individual sector capacities by the
capacity average number of active sectors crossed by each flight.

Q ACC ACC capacity at the point where the first sector becomes
Nominal saturated. Calculated using the FACET (FAP ACC Capacity
Zero Evaluation Tool) simulation. It is the sum of individual
ACC Capacity

Delay sector capacities, multiplied by the minimum Capacity


Capacity Demand ratio or divided by the maximum Demand Capacity
ratio.

Offered The nominal* ACC capacity (either saturated*or zero flights/hr Page 6
capacity delay*) for the average of all of the configurations opened
throughout the day.

ACC Effective capacity assessed from the observed air traffic, flights/hr Page 8
Observed and the actual ATFM delays, using the CASA algorithm of
Capacity the CFMU.

Optimum The maximum ATC capacity that can be justified from a flights/hr Page 9
capacity cost point of view i.e. the optimum trade-off between delay
and cost of ATC capacity.

Capacity Capacity level at an individual ACC, calculated by FAP, flights/hr


Target agreed and published in the ECIP, required each year to
achieve an average 1 minute delay target* by 2006 in
ECAC airspace. (PC/10 decision). Expressed as a
percentage increase with respect to the baseline*.

Capacity Set of capacity targets covering the planning period (eg.


Profile 2003-07).

20 CEF 27/01/03
Assessing Future ATC Capacity Requirements – A User Guide

TERM DEFINITION UNIT REFERENCE

Planned Capacity level planned by the ANSP and published in the flights/hr
Capacity

capacity CFMU Précis for the next Summer, and in the LCIP
document. Expressed as a percentage increase of the
baseline*, and as an absolute value (flights per hour)

* See separate definition in this document.

27/01/03 CEF 21
Assessing Future ATC Capacity Requirements – A User Guide

Annex 3 : Reference Documents & Contacts

1. CFMU ATFM Summary per ACC Summer 2001


November 2001
http://www.mis.eurocontrol.be/cfmu/atfm/sitesecure/yearlyreports_/atfmsummarypera
-2/default.htm

2. CFMU ATFM Yearly Summary per ACC 2001


February 2002
http://www.mis.eurocontrol.be/cfmu/atfm/sitesecure/yearlyreports_/atfmyearlysumma
-4/default.htm

3. PRC/PRU Performance Review Reports


http://orbite.eurocontrol.be/pru-prc/index.html

4. EATMP European Convergence and Implementation Plan


July 2002 Years 2003 to 2007
http://www.eurocontrol.int/ecip/

5. A. Marsden The FAP Methodology


J.C. Hustache June 2000
M. Dalichampt
(EEC)
http://www.eurocontrol.int/dgs/activities/eatmp/capacityplanning/en/index.html

5. M. Dalichampt Short Term Capacity Targets 2002


A. Marsden EEC Note 20/01, December 2001
S. Vincent
J. Lebreton
(EEC)
http://www.eurocontrol.fr/public/reports/eecnotes/2001/20.htm

6. M. Dalichampt Medium Term Capacity Enhancement Targets 2003-2006


A. Marsden EEC Note 14/01, June 2001
(EEC)
J-L Renteux
(EATMP)
http://www.eurocontrol.fr/public/reports/eecnotes/2001/14.htm

7. D. Marsh Air traffic Statistics and Forecasts (STATFOR):


(EATMP) Medium-Term Forecast of Annual Number of IFR
Flights (2002-2009) Volume 1
EUROCONTROL, Brussels, March 2002
Contacts :

CEM : jean-louis.renteux@eurocontrol.int
CFMU : etienne.de-muelenaere@eurocontrol.int
FAP : marc.dalichampt@eurocontrol.int
PRU : xavier.fron@eurocontrol.int

22 CEF 27/01/03
Assessing Future ATC Capacity Requirements – A User Guide

Annex 4 : PACT

The Portable ACC Capacity Evaluation Tool (PACT Software version 1.5)

1. What is PACT?

PACT stands for Portable ACC Capacity Evaluation Tool. It is a PC based version of
FACET, developed at the EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre, enabling national
capacity planners to evaluate ACC capacity from declared sector capacities, for
selected configurations and traffic samples. PACT can evaluate the effect of new
configurations or changes in sector capacities over the whole ACC.

2. Who is it meant for?

Planners, capacity managers and operational staff responsible for managing ACC
capacity.

3. What can you do with PACT?

PACT enables you to:


• Calculate the nominal (FACET) capacity indicator for selected sector
configurations and traffic samples
• Determine which sector configuration results in the maximum ACC capacity
indicator
• Determine which sector configuration is best suited to handle a given level of
traffic
• Evaluate the effect of changes to sectorisation and/or configurations on the
FACET ACC capacity indicator

27/01/03 CEF 23
Assessing Future ATC Capacity Requirements – A User Guide

4. What do you need to operate PACT?

PACT Software Application has been developed for the Microsoft Windows system.
To use PACT 1.5 you need:
Q Personal or multimedia computer with a Intel Pentium II Processor 300 MHz or
equivalent
Q Microsoft Windows 98 operating system or Microsoft Windows NT SP5
(recommended)
♦ 64 MB of memory
♦ 50 MB of hard disk space required
♦ CD-ROM drive
♦ VGA or higher-resolution video adapter (Super VGA with 65536 colours and
Desktop area with 1024 by 768 pixels recommended).

Additional items or services required to use certain features:


§ 9600 or higher-band modem (14,400 baud recommended)
§ Multimedia computer required to access sound and other multimedia effects
§ Some Internet functionalities may require Internet access and payment of a
separate fee to a service provider.

PACT has been tested using Windows 2000 and Windows XP. All output files are in
Excel format. You need Microsoft Office 97 (Excel 8.0) or above to work with PACT
Software. PACT has also been tested with Excel 2000.

5. How can you obtain PACT?

The easiest way to obtain PACT is to download version 1.5 from the website. Even if
you already have a previous version (1.3 was the previous released version), you
can download the new version 1.5.

There are now 2 databases available – AIRAC cycle 219, 12 July to 8 August 2001,
and AIRAC cycle 229, 16 April to 15 May 2002. These databases include actual
traffic samples (CFMU flight plan data) for each day, and the CFMU Environment
data on sector capacities and configurations existing during the AIRAC cycle.

The PACT website address is:

www.pact-eurocontrol.fr.st

To access the PACT download section, you need a login and password:
Login : pactuser
Password : pact155b

6. Contact

Help and advice is available from the PACT helpline via email pact@eurocontrol.int
or from the Capacity Enhancement Function at EUROCONTROL, tel: +32 (0)2 729
3367.

24 CEF 27/01/03
Assessing Future ATC Capacity Requirements – A User Guide

Annex 5 : FAP Reverse CASA Methodology

For an ACC with a capacity shortfall (i.e. the ACC generates delay), the FAP
analyses the observed Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) delays for a series of
given days, in order to determine the ACC capacity.

The days chosen for study correspond to a set whose observed delay correlates well
with the observed yearly delay distribution. A series of Summer days are chosen as
in most ACCs this corresponds to the period of peak demand and therefore
represents the ideal benchmark for the definition of future performance criteria.

Within the CFMU, the ATFM delay is manifested in terms of the allocation of a
Calculated Take Off Time (CTOT) as a means to regulate the flow of aircraft through
each regulated zone. The CTOT represents a deviation from the normal take-off time
that would have been achieved by the aircraft had it adhered to its estimated off
block time (EOBT) at the last filed flight plan. The assignment of a CTOT therefore
constitutes an ATFM delay.

Delays are determined by the CFMU Tactical system (TACT) according to the
declared sector capacities and any regulations that may be in force during the day in
question. The heart of TACT is the Computer Assisted Slot Allocation (CASA)
algorithm which assigns CTOT and ATFM delays to individual aircraft affected by the
regulations in force.

The delay assigned to an aircraft is considered as the result of the most penalising
regulation along its route and it is therefore possible to assign the CFMU delay to an
individual ACC or airport.

For any given day, the CFMU archive data includes the filed flight plans (employed
by TACT), the declared ACC sector configurations, the regulations in force and the
consequential ATFM delays.

All of this data is used within FAP in order to determine the ACC ‘observed’
capacity. This is defined as the declared capacity which would generate the
same ATFM delay as was actually observed, if the ACC were considered as a
single elementary sector.

The CFMU hourly sector regulations are simplified within FAP in order to apply a
constant regulation throughout the day.

Unfortunately, the CASA algorithm cannot simply be employed using an inverse


function i.e. given delay figures it cannot provide capacity values. Hence for each
ACC it is necessary to consider the delay which would have been observed for a
hypothetical estimate of capacity. The calculated delay is then compared to that
which was observed and an iterative modification cycle commences until the CASA
determined delay within an ACC for an estimated value of capacity converges to that
observed for the day in question. This methodology is referred to within FAP as the
“reverse CASA”. (See diagram on next page).

27/01/03 CEF 25
Assessing Future ATC Capacity Requirements – A User Guide

Estimate CASA Calculated = actual NO


ACC ACC delays delay
Capacity
YES
TRAFFIC
Observed Capacity

When performing this iterative analysis, it is necessary to consider the ATM system
as a network. This is a common theme within FAP, the idea that there is a close
interaction between the capacities and demand for each ACC and the way that these
parameters affect the observed delay in other ACCs. Hence the iteration is
performed simultaneously for all ACCs and only when each ACC gives the same
calculated delay as that observed in the CFMU is the process considered to be
terminated17.

This iterative convergence process within the network is achieved by the AMOC
(ATFM Modelling Capability) tool which is an integral part of FAP and has an
integrated copy of CASA. The convergence to the correct delays for each ACC within
the network can typically be the result of several thousand ATFM simulations.

The traffic demand in each ACC, and the consequential determination of delays, is
based on the CFMU TACT profile calculation. Although this profile may not be
identical to the actual profile flown by the aircraft (for reasons such as performance,
Letters of Agreement or routing schemes not modelled in TACT), it does correspond
to the profile that is used in the assignment of the ATFM departure slot and is
therefore considered to be the ideal one for the purposes of FAP.

The result of this analysis is a set of capacity estimates for each ACC, respecting the
CFMU traffic demand, TACT profile, sectorisation and regulation schemes in force,
as well as the interactions of capacity and delay between ACCs. If each ACC
comprised a single elementary sector with the regulations in force for the day in
question, then the calculated ACC capacities would have generated the same ATFM
delay as was observed in CFMU.

This method is considered to provide an accurate estimate of the ACC capacity for
delay producing ACCs.

17
If the correct delay has been found for a given ACC, then the process of changing the estimated capacity in
another ACC may affect the newly observed delay in a previously correct ACC – this is the so-called network
effect.

26 CEF 27/01/03
Assessing Future ATC Capacity Requirements – A User Guide

Annex 6 : Assessment of Short-Term ACC Capacity Requirement

The EUROCONTROL Provisional Council approves a short term delay target quoted
in terms of an average delay per flight not to be exceeded during the Summer
season across the whole ECAC area.

It is possible within FAP to calculate the capacity increase necessary in each ACC in
order to achieve this target delay per flight.

Clearly there is no “unique solution” to this problem i.e. a wide range of capacity
augmentations in differing ACCs and airports within the network could achieve the
average delay target.

The method retained is to determine the cost-optimum set of capacity increases that
would achieve the delay target per flight within the network; it is performed in
FAP/MECA based on the Return On Investment (ROI) principle. This can be thought
of as the return (cost reduction due to delay reduction) that is achieved for a given
investment (cost for capacity increase to target capacity level).

The ROI is expressed as :

(Costdel,do-nothing – Costdel,target) / (Costcap,target – Costcap,current)

where :
Costdel,do-nothing is the cost associated with the predicted delays at the current capacity level
with the future traffic scenario
Costdel,target is the cost associated with the predicted delays given the target capacity
level
Costcap,target is the cost associated with the provision of the capacity to the target level
Costcap,current is the cost associated with the provision of capacity at the current levels

MECA calculates the ROI for each ACC and chooses the one with the highest value
of ROI for a unit capacity increase. Following this augmentation, a complete new
network ATFM simulation is executed after which MECA again identifies the ACC
with the highest value of ROI – this process continuing until the ATFM simulation
identifies that the target value of delay has been attained.

Iterative ATFM network simulations with best ROI to achieve target delay

ATFM No
Simulation MECA
Delay per Augment
Future flight = target capacity
1999 according to
scenario ACC with
Yes best ROI

Report all capacity


increases identified
based on ROI

Once the target delay is reached, the capacity requirement for each ACC is
expressed in terms of the capacity increase that was necessary in order for the
convergence to be achieved.

27/01/03 CEF 27
ASSESSING FUTURE ATC CAPACITY REQUIREMENTS - A USER GUIDE
Version 1.1 – July 2002

Contact: Jean-Louis Renteux, Capacity Enhancement Manager


Directorate Safety, Airspace, Airports & Information Services (DSA/CEM)
EUROCONTROL, 96 Rue de la Fusée, B-1130 BRUSSELS
Tel: +32 2 729 3407, Fax: +32 2 729 9078
mailto:jean-louis.renteux@eurocontrol.int
http://www.eurocontrol.int