Analysis of Airspace Structure and Capacity for Decentralized Separation Using Fast-Time Simulations

Emmanuel Sunil, Joost Ellerbroek, Jacco Hoekstra, Michael Arntzen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
70 Downloads (Pure)


The work that is presented in this paper is part of an ongoing study on the relationship between airspace structure and capacity. The present paper investigates the degree of structuring needed to maximize capacity for decentralized en-routeairspace. To this end, four decentralized en-route airspace concepts, which vary in terms of the number of constrained degrees of freedom, were comparedusing fast-time simulations, for both nominal and non-nominal conditions. The airspace structure-capacity relationship was studied from the effect of multiple traffic demand densities on airspace metrics. The results indicated that structuring methods that over-constrained the horizontal path of aircraft reduced capacity, as traffic demand displays no predominant patterns in the horizontal dimension for decentralization. The results also showed that capacity was maximized when a vertical segmentation of airspace was used to separate traffic with different travel directions at different flight levels.This mode of structuring improved performance over completely unstructured airspace by reducing relative velocities between aircraft cruising at the same altitude,while allowing direct horizontal routes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-51
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics: devoted to the technology of dynamics and control
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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