Prediction of International Flight Operations at U.S. Airports (2006)

Author: Ni Shen

This report presents a top-down methodology to forecast annual international flight operations at sixty-six U.S. airports, whose combined operations accounted for 99.8% of the total international passenger flight operations in National Airspace System (NAS) in 2004. The forecast of international flight operations at each airport is derived from the combination of passenger flight operations at the airport to ten World Regions. The regions include: Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Mexico, Canada, Caribbean and Central America, Middle East, Oceania and U.S. International.

In the forecast, a “top-down” methodology is applied in three steps. In the fist step, individual linear regression models are developed to forecast the total annual international passenger enplanements from the U.S. to each of nine World Regions. The resulting regression models are statistically valid and have parameters that are credible in terms of signs and magnitude. In the second step, the forecasted passenger enplanements are distributed among international airports in the U.S. using individual airport market share factors. The airport market share analysis conducted in this step concludes that the airline business is the critical factor explaining the changes associated with airport market share. In the third and final step, the international passenger enplanements at each airport are converted to flight operations required for transporting the passengers. In this process, average load factor and average seats per aircraft are used.

The model has been integrated into the Transportation Systems Analysis Model (TSAM), a comprehensive intercity transportation planning tool. Through a simple graphic user interface implemented in the TSAM model, the user can test different future scenarios by defining a series of scaling factors for GDP, load factor and average seats per aircraft. The default values for the latter two variables are predefined in the model using 2004 historical data derived from Department of Transportation T100 international segment data.

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