Fuel efficient air-traffic management (New)

Airline industry has been growing continuously during recent years while airport capacities have been stagnating. Despite the negative impact of September 11 attacks and ongoing global financial turmoil, demand for airline services has been steadily increasing. In most of the major markets including Europe, North America and large part of Asia, since early 90s, both total seat capacity and number of airline companies have increased significantly resulting fierce competition in industry. Emerging market conditions brought many challenges along with its benefits. Overcrowding in airport terminals, airspaces around the airports particularly in North America, airspaces between airports in Europe and frequent delays are some of the challenges for the airline industry as well as for the transportation authorities to tackle. Furthermore, volatility in fuel prices, increasing labor costs and unpredictable weather conditions in most parts of the World are force many airline companies to face extreme financial challenges.
It is clear that, increasing air traffic is becoming unmanageable for Air Traffic Control (ATC) personnel to effectively determine a flight plan for each aircraft. Due to high air traffic volume, ATC personnel frequently ignore economic and service objectives of airlines; rather they mainly focus on safety. Hence, fuel consumption cost, delays and early arrivals are frequently ignored. These traffic delays due to congestion in the National Airspace System (NAS) are a source of unnecessary cost to airlines, passengers, and air transportation dependent businesses. Delays also have significant environmental effects. Because of congestion, aircrafts are often forced to fly far from the cruise altitude and/or the cruise speed for which they are planned to. Such sub-optimality results in unnecessary fuel burn and gaseous emission that give rise to environmental concerns both globally and locally at ground level. The significant magnitude of air traffic delays presently observed is an indication that the current air traffic control infrastructure is not capable of handling present traffic levels.
Given the forecasted growth in aviation over the next decade there is an urgent need for air traffic control decision-support systems to focus on the problem of congestion in the NAS. This project deals with the development of decision support tools employing advanced optimization approaches for conflict-free air traffic flow management which take account all meaningful airport and flight characteristics into consideration that are not yet extensively studied in current academic literature. Flights schedules, speed changes, speed-dependent fuel consumption rate, separation distances and conflict avoidance are some of the issues that are precisely incorporated in our models. We also aim to determine the environmental benefits in terms of the change in the amount of emissions that are produced by aircrafts and develop decision support tools for the use of ATCs.
Keeping in mind that aircrafts are one of the significant contributors of air pollution and both economic and social reasons, airline companies are highly sensitive to their aircrafts’ fuel consumption rates; the proposed research has great potentials to assist airline companies to reduce their fuel consumption costs and consequently reduce aircrafts’ contribution to air pollution, particularly around airports.

Faculty Supervisor:

Ali Akgunduz


Shuonan Dong



Engineering - mechanical



Concordia University



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