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Key operational enablers of Flightpath 2050

The projected uptick in world passenger traffic challenges the stakeholders involved to optimise the current aviation system and find new solutions being able to cope with the promoted goals of international regulators such as Flightpath 2050 and ACARE. Targets are four hours door-to-door for 90 % of travellers, a 40 % reduction of turn-around times by 2050, and the arrival and departure of each aircraft should be accomplished within one minute of the scheduled time. Especially large airports are located far from the city centre, resulting in long airport access times for passengers combined with buffer times for uncertainties of durations for airport processes like security checks or even unpredictability of airport access times. Therefore, key enablers to reduce overall travel times are a reduction in airport access times, a higher predictability of times accessing the airport and process times inside the terminal.

Larger airports, especially hub airports, are not only operating at their maximum runway capacity, also taxiway and gate utilisation reaches its limits, especially during peak hours. Each schedule disruption due to late arrival of aircraft or unreliable and inefficient ground operation processes causes a significant impairment of airport operations.

Around 45 % of European delays in 2013 are cascading delays caused by late arrival of aircraft or crew from another flight. With 17 %, a considerable amount of delays is caused by ground operation disruptions including aircraft and ramp handling, passenger and baggage handling, resulting damage to aircraft and flight operations. Delays can be most effectively compensated by means of improved ground process efficiency.

  • Causes of delays at European airports in 2013 (based on Eurocontrol CODA data)Causes of delays at European airports in 2013 (based on Eurocontrol CODA data)
  • Elements of door-to-door travel time: Door-to-door travel times for non-stop and connecting flights with a typical turbofan and turboprop aircraft on a 500 and 1,000 nm distanceElements of door-to-door travel time: Door-to-door travel times for non-stop and connecting flights with a typical turbofan and turboprop aircraft on a 500 and 1,000 nm distance