Runway Throughput

Maximizing Runway Capacity Utilization

Runway capacity – Major bottleneck in Air Traffic Management

Airport capacity is a key contributor to the overall goal to enhance Air Traffic Management (ATM) capacities. Although airport capacity in total encompasses more than just the runway, it is often one of the main constraining resources. Hence, the focus at many airports is to maximize runway throughput especially, during busy hours. Often, this also requires alignment and coordination with traffic management procedures in Terminal Movement Areas (TMAs) and on the airport surface.


Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and other stakeholders enable this by implementing operational improvements, such as new airspace and route structures or innovative technologies that maximize overall capacity utilization. Essential operational improvements are emphasized by the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) ATM Master Plan. It states that, “airport operations will become seamless through the use of automation support tools and full integration of departure, arrival and surface management linked to demand and capacity balancing (DCB) and a user driven prioritization process (UDPP).”


In support of this, innovative arrival management procedures have been deployed at airports already. For arriving traffic, prominent examples are the Point Merge System or Extended Arrival Management. For departing traffic, innovative departure management procedures such as, Pre-Departure Sequencing as part of Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) environments have been put into reality. Based on the tremendous success of such solutions, it is expected that more ANSPs and airports will follow.


  • Runway throughput maximization requires effective alignment and coordination with TMA and surface traffic
  • Integration of departure, arrival and surface management linked with demand and capacity balancing and a user driven prioritization is key
  • Innovative procedures, such as Point Merge System (PMS) or Extended Arrival Management, have proven their benefits in operational environments
  • AMAN/DMAN applications are required by capacity constrained airports that are seeking to eliminate inefficient operations that manifest themselves in increased holding times and delays

Maximizing runway throughput through sequencing and metering

The ORTHOGON Arrival and Departure Manager (AMAN/DMAN) provide traffic sequencing and metering functions to support Air Traffic Control (ATC) to maximize runway throughput while increasing operational predictability, efficiency, flexibility, and minimizing environmental impacts.


Possible operational objectives are the optimization of the traffic flow to the runway, supporting traffic sequencing, or CDM initiatives. Runway throughput typically benefits from all of them: optimized metering ensures that available runway slots are effectively used, sequencing reduces the average separation between runway movements, and CDM ensures that available capacities are used optimally, while taking into account user preferences, which typically aim to minimize operational costs.


ORTHOGON AMAN and ORTHOGON DMAN provide a host of functionalities making them highly adaptable to individual airport and airspace characteristics, and operational requirements. AMAN and DMAN are available as a stand-alone and as a coupled solution. The ORTHOGON Coupled AMAN/DMAN was successfully validated within the scope of SESAR during real-time validation exercises, resulting in significant runway capacity improvements. A coupled system allows tower and approach controllers to efficiently balance arrivals and departures resulting in an optimized mixed-mode runway sequence.


  • ORTHOGON AMAN/DMAN sequencing and metering functions support ATC to maximize runway throughput
  • Coupled AMAN/DMAN has proven significant runway capacity improvements during SESAR real-time validation exercises
  • Runway slots are effectively used based on metering capabilities
  • Average separation between the runway movements is reduced based on sequencing
  • Available capacities are used most efficiently considering user preferences

ORTHOGON Arrival Manager (AMAN)

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ORTHOGON Departure Manager (DMAN)

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ORTHOGON Pre-Departure Sequencer (PDS)

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"Throughout Gatwick's A-CDM 55 program, Harris Orthogon has provided a high quality product and service delivery."

Chris Howell, Head of Business Systems - Gatwick Airport IT

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