Tuesday, September 11, 2007

From TR Sept 04, 07 ... Does it matter what kind of navigation system is used if the limiting factor is runway slots? I understand that you can get from Point A to Point B more efficiently, but where are you going to land when you get there?

Eastman's "Off the Wall Comment(s)"

In time, cement and parking gates may be a problem – particularly, if hub-services reinstate themselves as a preferred travel model.

But ATC would alleviate much of the slot-like problems just in managing flow better; coordinating types of equipment, schedules, ground flows, in-flight variances, weather, alternates, etc – i.e. addressing the structure as a whole rather than the current model which is, basically, deal with what’s in your face at the moment sector-by-sector. The present system mandates participation by aircraft that have no need to be there … and can exclude aircraft that do need to be there. The present system tends to channel traffic sequentially through choke-points rather than parallel-flow through dynamic gateways. But fixing ATC without fixing the rest of the system will not solve the problem; it will only shift the focus (blame) in another direction. ATC just happens to be the farthest behind at the moment … and the most easily identifiable target (i.e. – the government).


From TR Sept 06, 07 ... What you say is all technically feasible, but as these things are NOT being done, my question remains valid. The things you propose should be solved before anybody spends a dime on this new equipment.

Eastman's "Off the Wall Comment(s)"

You have the same problem on the ground … with slots (and slot management). The technology exists for ATC to manage airplanes on the ground just as it exists to manage airplanes in the air. If ATC would manage airplanes on the ground more efficiently, it would open up existing space (i.e. slots) even during the “crunch periods” of hubs. The core problem in both cases, at the moment, lies with ATC.

ATC is testing “traffic lights” at runways in San Diego in an effort to better manage planes on the ground – but they’re more to prevent runway incursion than they are to manage flow. Still, the process could be expanded with some coordinating technology (it already exists … would just need to be re-applied).

That is not to say that there airlines themselves couldn’t do more about dealing with these problems as well; internal flow-control, better ground operations, coordinated en route with slot availability management, etc.

But without coordination with ATC and with other airlines, the issue becomes muted by the competitive and marketing needs that carriers believe they must provide in hub sequencing and peak-time departures.

Oh yeah … the issue of “slots management” needs to be broken down into three manageable dimensions – the operational aspects, the marketing aspects, and the political aspects. Today’s slots management is a morass of all three issues … and without a transformation in the management of aircraft on the ground, the subjection issues of marketing and emotional issues of the politics involved will supersede what might be done operationally.

Thus, the answer to your question is a question itself; how do you minimize the marketing and political dimensions enough to allow process-logic to address the operational solution?