Cost-Benefit Analysis Model for Advanced Weather Forecasting Installations in Airport Terminal Areas (2005)

Author: Aniruddha V. Kane

Better utilization of the airport system capacities can significantly decrease delays, as well as number of cancelled lights. An efficient Air Traffic Control system equipped with advanced technology installations in the terminal area can help reduce flight delays and cancellations. The same technology could also help reduce accidents in the terminal area, thereby increasing the safety of the system. Due to the expense of fielding advanced technology in the terminal area, it is important to conduct realistic cost-benefit analysis to predict the life-cycle cost of the system. A computer simulation and optimization model to estimate the costs and benefits of fielding advanced technologies at airport terminal areas is introduced in this paper. The model developed is called the Cost-Benefit Analysis Terminal Investment Model (COTIM). This model considers costs and benefits to both service providers (Federal Aviation Administration and airport authorities) and users (Airlines). The model combines a simulation-optimization based approach to predict benefits and costs accrued in one day or throughout the life-cycle of the facility. We present an example to demonstrate the functionality of the model using Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) equipped with the Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS). The Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) is a relatively new technology that forecasts convective weather movements thus allowing Air Traffic Control (ATC) personnel to re-direct flights inside the terminal area efficiently. COTIM estimates flight delays and cancellations at an airport, when the airport is equipped with advanced technologies such as ITWS. The model performs cost-benefit analysis by comparing a baseline scenario without terminal area technologies against a scenario with technology. The difference between the two scenarios help decision makers justify whether technology investments are warranted of not.

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