Measuring Flight Efficiency in the National Airspace System

November 2015
Topics: Airports, Air Traffic Management, Air Navigation, Modeling and Simulation, Aviation Administration
James S. DeArmon, The MITRE Corporation
Wayne W. Cooper Jr., The MITRE Corporation
Tudor Masek, The MITRE Corporation
Shin-Lai (Alex) Tien, The MITRE Corporation
Steve McMahon, Federal Aviation Administration
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Measuring and monitoring resources in the National Airspace System (NAS) is a key activity of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operational managers. Airports and associated terminal areas are complex systems and require a number of metrics to properly characterize performance. In this document, 13 performance measures are described, in three different categories: (1) flow efficiency, for both taxiing and airborne flights, (2) runway utilization, for both arrivals and departures, and (3) rate of flights not cancelled or diverted, for both arrivals and departures. These 13 metrics capture performance in the different stages of flight from push-back to gate arrival. Sample calculations and use cases are presented, using Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) as a subject airport. The multiple measures may be combined for an omnibus metric, for quick assessment of performance at that airport, in a next-day review context.​


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