"Getting the most from a single runway needs great cooperation between tower and approach."
Coupled AMAN/DMAN allows for most efficient runway utilization through synchronized sequencing
High demand, capacity constrained airports are typically striving to optimize the usage of their runway resources. The capacity of a given runway depends on the arrival-departure ratio, where the maximum throughput is normally achieved in mixed-mode operations. The optimum ratio depends on demand predictions and optimization targets. Especially single runway airports face the challenge to find the best mix of arrival and departing traffic given the various constraints and inherent uncertainties of the respective operations.
In January 2008 NATS put the OSYRIS Arrival Manager (AMAN) into operation to optimize the arrival sequences based on Target Landing Times calculations for London Heathrow and Gatwick. And since May 2014, the OSYRIS Departure Manager (DMAN) has been up and running at London Gatwick Airport. As part of Airport Collaborative Decision Making, where all partners at the airport share information and follow a common plan, linking arrivals to turnarounds to departures, DMAN optimizes Target Take-Off Times (TTOT) and Target Start-Up Approval Times (TSAT).
While both individual systems offer important benefits, coupling of AMAN and DMAN systems unlock additional improvements for mixed-mode runways, for example like the Gatwick single runway. The ICAO Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBU) document describes the advantages achievable through a coupled AMAN/DMAN system.
Foremost, the predictability is improved through a decrease in the uncertainties in aerodrome and terminal demand prediction. Moreover, efficiency gains are possible as a result of harmonizing, streamlining and de-conflicting the respective traffic flows. The synchronization of arrival and departure traffic allows ANSPs to maximize aerodrome and terminal airspace capacity utilization. Also, dynamic scheduling and dynamic runway configuration, which allows for more easy accommodation of arrival/departure patterns, is supported by coupling of AMAN and DMAN systems.
In the framework of SESAR research, the OSYRIS AMAN and DMAN operational for Gatwick Airport was extended and used for the Coupled AMAN/DMAN validation exercises (SESAR work package 6.8.4), representing Approach and Tower operations. The OSYRIS system was extended to support the so-called “packing and gapping”. With this function an optimized mixed-mode runway sequence pattern, coordinated between Approach and Tower supervisors, can be directly entered into the system. The simulation was conducted in the NATS Corporate and Technology Centre using ACE simulation software, and ran from 22nd September 2014 until the successfully finish on 11th October 2014. An uncoupled mode served as baseline.
London Gatwick Airport’s single runway is one of the busiest runways in the world with up to 55 scheduled movements per hour. Located in the London Terminal Control Area, which is scored as having the highest traffic complexity in Europe, ATC operations at Gatwick Airport are considered to be amongst the most challenging worldwide. Efficient utilization of the available runway capacity is of utmost importance. OSYRIS AMAN and DMAN are operational for London Gatwick supporting efficient runway management, which contributed to a world record of 934 movements in one day on a single runway in August 2015.
As part of the SESAR 6.8.4 validation exercises in 2014, the OSYRIS AMAN and DMAN were extended and used for the Coupled Arrival and Departure Management. The Coupled AMAN/DMAN supports the achievement of an optimum arrival-departure ratio through the creation of suitable departure gaps in the arrival sequence. AMAN supported the Approach Control (APP) for arrival sequence optimization and DMAN supported the Tower (TWR) Controller for take-off sequence optimization.
The main objective of an integrated system is to maximize runway capacity utilization and to improve predictability, which is obtained through the common, shared picture of arrival and departure traffic. This benefits airports in improved stand allocation and passenger handling. Those improvements are in addition to the benefits that a single AMAN and DMAN system can provide for example, through reduced fuel burn as a result of early delay absorption (AMAN) or reduced engine-on-time at the gate (DMAN).
Results of the SESAR exercises have proven significant runway throughput improvements achievable by the Coupled AMAN-DMAN compared to uncoupled operations of both tools.