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122 APPENDIX A Airport Interviews and Technology Issues Appendix A to the Report comprises three sections. Sec- terms of other key issues brought up in the interviews. Table A.1 tion A.1 presents a summary of what was learned in a series lists the location and dates of the interviews and the airport of detailed interviews with key technical managers at major air- official(s) interviewed for each airport. ports in the two study areas, incorporating their views of con- straints and the seriousness of the capacity problem over the A.1.1.1 Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) next 20 years. Section A.2 includes a brief review of what might and might not be expected from the application of improved Primary Concerns. The research team identified limited land area and environmental issues as major constraints to airspace management technology. Section A.3 reviews the con- expansion at BOS owing to the complexity and time require- cept that additional scheduled time for transfer movement ments for environmental review of runway expansion. Con- would have a beneficial impact on spreading the peak move- gestion in New York airspace limits BOS operations to the ments at congested airports. south and east, and flights bound for New York are frequently delayed on the ground at BOS. These problems linger, even A.1 Issues of Capacity Limitation as though passenger traffic between New York and BOS has been Perceived at the Airport Level cut in half over the past 10 years by the introduction of compet- A.1.1 Airport Interviews ing air service at PVD and MHT and, more important, by very effective competition from Amtrak. (Hubbing is not a major The research team began by contacting the management of issue, as airlines at BOS concentrate increasingly on direct the busiest airports in the coastal metropolitan corridors. The flights and international growth.) The aviation planning man- planning staffs at those airports were interviewed to confirm ager interviewed for this study reported that BOS has not had the validity of the FACT 2 report and to obtain advice about to implement its demand management program because the current problems with congestion, the outlook for the future, trigger of a 15-min average delay during good weather condi- and measures that might improve that outlook. Planners for tions has not been reached, nor is it anticipated in the near term. 11 major airports were interviewed, through face-to-face meet- ings for 6 airports (JFK, LGA, EWR, IAD, DCA, and SFO) Other Research Findings. BOS is involved in regional and telephone conversations for five (BWI, PHL, BOS, OAK, transportation planning, as a permanent member of the MPO and LAX). The interviews ranged from 0.5 to 2 hours long. The with a big interest in airport accessibility. The New England interviews followed a standard format, but were flexible enough System Plan, initiated by the FAA in cooperation with the to allow airports to emphasize issues of local significance. states and major transportation facility operators, has been The airport representatives were asked about their experi- very successful in promoting an effective regional system of air- ences with regional transportation planning and their attitudes ports. The regional plan has helped build confidence among regarding the potential for expanded multimodal, multi- investors and developers and provides a favorable context for jurisdictional planning focused on short-haul passenger local development decisions. According to interviews carried travel. Particular emphasis was placed on the airport's willing- out by the research team, the governance of BOS by Massport ness to cooperate with regional and intercity rail operators. has helped the transportation planning process because the This section of Appendix A summarizes the results of inter- airport is not unduly impeded by political interference and views conducted at each of 11 airports by the research team, can proceed with planning in a businesslike manner. The first in terms of local views toward capacity and second in regional planning process is now looking at issues such as
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123 Table A.1. Airport interview list. Airport Date of Interview Airport Official and Title BOS 30 April 2008 Flavio Leo: Aviation Planning, Dept. of Aviation, Massachusetts Port Authority JFK, LGA, 24 June 2008 William Radinson: Assistant Director of Capital Programs for Aviation and EWR Tom Bock: Assistant Director for Operational Enhancement Patty Clark: Senior Advisor to the Director of Aviation Ronnie Taste: Certified transportation planner Linda Bentz: Assistant Director of the Policy and Planning Department Richard Milhaven: Manager of the Aviation Department's Federal Aid Programs Gregory B.Wong: Policy analyst with the Policy and Planning Department Jeff Zupan: Senior research fellow with the Regional Planning Association; direct- ing the Future of the NY Region Airports Study Richard Barrone: Researcher with the Regional Planning Association; working on the Future of the NY Region Airports Study Matt Lee: With Landrum & Brown, lead consultant on the Nine Airport Regional Air Service Demand Study PHL 5 May 2008 Calvin M. Davenger, Jr.: Deputy Director of Aviation Planning & Environmental Stew- ardship Division of Aviation BWI 6 May 2008 Wayne Schuster: Director, MAA--Office of Planning and Environmental Services DCA and 23 April 2008 William Lebergern: Manager, Planning Department, Office of Engineering IAD SFO 11 & 13 June 2008 Ivar Satero: Airport Deputy Director Danielle Rinsler: Director of Planning OAK 10 June 2008 Kristi McKenney: Manager of Aviation Planning and Development LAX 10 June 2008 Susan Collette: Supervisory Transportation Planner, LA World Airports airspace use and bus/rail service. Interest in mass transit and Other Research Findings. As revealed in the interviews, rail is fairly high at BOS, partly because of the emerging con- no MPO or Councils of Government play a key role. The cern about the carbon footprint of transportation systems. Regional Planning Association draws funds and support from public and private sources for ad hoc studies, but its influence is based on the usefulness of its products rather A.1.1.2 Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark Airports than from a statutory role. Regional planning is primarily (JFK, LGA, and EWR) done by the PANYNJ, often in cooperation with other agen- Primary Concerns. The New York region is unique in sev- cies such as the NY DOT or the Delaware Valley Regional eral ways, and on the basis of the research team's interviews, no Planning Commission. The air transportation market is single measure exists that will satisfy the region's requirements; heavily concentrated, limiting the potential role of outlying consequently, a broad range of measures will be needed to supplementary airports. meet emerging demands. The research team's findings of con- The research team recorded evidence of frustration in straints at the three airports reflect this complexity: two key areas. First, the local officials interviewed expressed concern that federal regulation of how airport funds can · JFK, LGA, and EWR are all constrained by space limita- be used adds complexity and impedes efforts to maximize tions and environmental considerations; the role of rail. Rail already plays a large role in the region, · Airspace management issues constrain all three airports, with Amtrak diverting a large number of short-haul pas- owing to their proximity to one another and neighboring sengers from the airports--especially Boston, New York, airports; and Washington, D.C. The team found no evidence that · Airline management issues affect the New York airports; and this increase in rail travel has led to reduced flight sched- · Legally enforceable policies, particularly restrictions on ules accordingly. traffic management and rules limiting the use of airport During the interview, the PANYNJ staff presented their revenues, limit the strategies that the PANYNJ can use to interpretation of the problems in the New York region. satisfy the demand for air travel. Although this view does not represent a complete summary
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124 of these complex issues, the interviews revealed their posi- A.1.1.4 Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall tion that, despite extensive research and huge investments, International Airport (BWI) there has been no increase in the throughput capacity of the Primary Concerns. The research team found that expan- runways at JFK, LGA, and EWR. Participants have seen the sion of BWI will be constrained eventually by limited land throughput reduced by 28 operations per hour at each air- area and environmental issues, but not before 2020. Local air- port over the past 10 years and the same schedule that was space management is generally adequate and free of serious once handled in 14 hours now stretches to 16, costing air- constraints; however, airspace is a constant concern of air- lines and travelers billions of dollars and exposing air- lines and could become a problem as activity increases at IAD port neighbors to late-night aircraft noise. Moreover, the and PHL. gradual improvement of air traffic control (ATC) equip- ment has not increased runway throughput. Instead, the Other Research Findings. Owing to frugal fiscal policies, improved equipment is being used to enforce, ever more airlines are slow to make improvements in tenant space. precisely, air traffic spacing rules that were developed According to the interviews, a particular concern at BWI is in decades ago when it was much less accurate and reliable. the baggage handling areas below the terminal that have been Those participating in the interviews believe that this may affected by baggage screening procedures. The space should be the most important single issue for the New York region. be expanded and the flow streamlined, but the airlines do not The local participants stated their view that, until the new want to make a major investment now. BWI is not currently rules are developed that reflect the improved accuracy of affected by policies related to the use and allocation of capac- the ATC system, the region will be subjected to billions ity. BWI is accessible from a nearby rail station served by the of dollars in unnecessary travel delay and environmental Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) and Amtrak. degradation. The airport is able to handle its projected growth without The research team found that landside improvements additional planning guidance and assistance. Although traf- (e.g., terminal construction and ground access enhancements) fic is likely to grow at 1.52% annually, BWI probably will not are possible, and some airfield configuration changes may be become congested before 2020 or 2025. studied in the future if improvements in ATC procedures provide a basis for them. NextGen should result in some relief to the airspace management issues identified, but NextGen A.1.1.5 Washington, D.C., Airports (DCA and IAD) must be translated into higher runway throughput if the Primary Concerns. The research team found that DCA region is to benefit substantially. is very constrained by limited area and environmental issues. IAD, on the other hand, has adequate space and a more favor- A.1.1.3 Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) able environmental situation, but the environmental review and approval process for improvements is still very lengthy. Primary Concerns. The research team determined that Airspace management is a continuing issue for IAD: one con- the expansion of PHL is very constrained by limited land area cern is military airspace set aside for Quantico to the south of and environmental issues--for example, when adverse the airport. Airspace at DCA is less of a concern because traf- weather conditions severely reduce capacity. The current air- fic levels are more constant. port master plan is designed to work within those constraints to expand capacity, including the opening of a new runway. Other Research Findings. The team also found that air- line policies on aircraft size and hubbing affect the airports Other Research Findings. According to interviews with but are viewed by airport staff as customer requirements that the airport's deputy director of aviation, airlines are con- need to be accommodated. DCA is heavily affected by slot cerned that the New York and Washington air traffic affects limits and limits on long-distance flights; IAD has a sharp the adequacy of airspace for operations at PHL. It is hoped peak in international departures because of curfews at major that relief will come as new technology comes on line in the European airports. Regional planning has not addressed ATC system. The plans for airfield improvements and trends reliever airport issues. An effective regional planning effort toward efficient airline schedules are expected to keep con- aimed at reducing airport congestion was the airspace plan- gestion within acceptable limits. The present requirement ning for the Potomac TRACON, which was conducted by the that congestion pricing be revenue neutral also limits the air- FAA. The team noted that although DCA is relatively close to port's interest in the subject. The airport participates in Amtrak, and improved connectivity could be achieved with a regional transportation planning, and the airport is con- large investment, the airlines would insist that Amtrak make nected to Amtrak by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Trans- an appropriate payment to the airport budget if it were to use portation Authority. airport facilities.
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125 A.1.1.6 San Francisco International Airport (SFO) done by the Oakland MPO. The study will address the avia- tion capacity needs of the Bay Area and may recommend Primary Concerns. The research team found that SFO is improvements. heavily impacted by limited space and environmental con- straints. Space is limited and any major runway improvement would involve filling in a portion of the Bay. Although the A.1.1.8 Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) long-term impact on the Bay might not be significant, com- Primary Concerns. In interviews with the supervisory munity concern about airport development is a very large transportation planner for LAX, it was reported that the air- political issue. port is impacted by limited space and environmental con- Other Research Findings. SFO officials interviewed for straints. The airport is heavily constrained on the landside, this study reported that airspace is adequate for current oper- with aging terminals, congested access roads, and noise- ations, but SFO and other West Coast airports are dispropor- sensitive communities and needs to be modernized. Space is tionately affected by flow control measures such as ground limited, but there is room for midfield terminal expansion holds. The use of regional jets aggravates runway congestion and runway redevelopment to provide more space for new at SFO, but the airport is less dependent on airline approval large aircraft. Community concern about airport develop- of policies and investments than most other airports because it ment is a very large political issue. has few airline-funded facilities. The emphasis on common- Other Research Findings. In contrast to most other air- use facilities will continue in the future. SFO would like to have ports where the research team conducted interviews, airspace more authority to manage demand on the runways, particu- at LAX is adequate for current operations. Capacity at the air- larly during bad weather conditions. The airport is participat- port is limited by a cap of 89 million air passengers annually, ing in a Bay Area regional planning study and also supported which is a locally imposed ceiling on the future use of the air- the recent referendum on HSR. The research team's findings reflect a sense that local solutions to airport congestion can port. Diverse patterns of use by airlines, however, are a chal- be crafted, but the federal government must be supportive. lenge. Interview results suggest that a significant portion of SFO's issues are thought to be significantly different from LAX runway capacity is used for short-haul flights, some of those of New York or Boston, so solutions must be tailored at which may be handled by a future HSR system. Frequent the local level. flights by commuter aircraft and regional jets account for much of the air traffic at LAX. (Los Angeles maintains good alternative airports for general aviation, so general aviation A.1.1.7 Oakland International Airport (OAK) does not use LAX.) Primary Concerns. As OAK is a single-runway airport, it is not surprising that the research team found OAK to be A.1.2 Lessons and Issues Raised highly constrained by limited area and environmental issues. in the Local Interviews Those interviewed took the position that a new runway is warranted by traffic levels, but would probably have to be By design, much of the content of the interviews concerned built in the bay on fill at an extraordinarily high cost. A loca- local conditions and local interpretations, as summarized in tion on solid ground is possible but would result in public sections A.1.1.1 to A.1.1.8 above. In addition, the research opposition because of noise impact. team explored many common themes that emerged from the interviews, as summarized here by subject area. Other Research Findings. Airspace management is not a major issue for OAK in its current configuration, but SFO A.1.2.1 Local Perception of the Accuracy does appear to take priority in some weather conditions. The of the FACT-2 Report airport does not have much regional-jet traffic. However, it does have a sharp peak in traffic during the morning depar- The FACT 2 report, released by the FAA in 2007, was pre- ture push, which is common at West Coast airports. The pared by the FAA in cooperation with the MITRE Corp. and research team reported that airline financial problems have coordinated with airport managers when the final report was curtailed capital spending at OAK and other airports and will in draft form. However, the interviews showed that only a few be a major constraint to any large capital programs in the representatives of airport management were fully aware of future. The authority to manage air traffic demand would be the report. The general sense of airport planners is that the helpful at OAK, if only by providing greater flexibility to man- FACT 2 report was accurate in its summary of the outlook for agement. OAK is now involved, together with San Jose (SJO) airport congestion (i.e., worsening problems at the busiest and SFO, in a regional planning study with the technical work airports in the East and West Coast corridors through the
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126 foreseeable future). However, several current efforts that were Slow growth could extend the time frame for some airport not reflected in the FACT 2 analysis could reduce the severity improvement programs. of congestion. The long-term outlook is muddied by the great difficulty A major new runway has been proposed for PHL to allow that airlines are having with fuel costs, which approximately the airport to operate two runways at full potential during doubled in the 12 months before the interviews and then most weather conditions, greatly increasing the airport's swung downward in the period after the interviews. The capacity during instrument weather conditions. An analysis of uncertain situation is not favorable to short flights by small the environmental impact of the proposed runway is under- aircraft, because these consume the most fuel per passenger way and is expected to be completed in 2010. On the basis of mile flown. There is some possibility that, in the long term, the criteria used by FACT 2 for inclusion in the assumed high fuel costs may cause a sea change in the business model capacity increases, the PHL runway was not included. Thus, for commercial aviation, reversing the emphasis on stimulat- congestion at a future PHL airport might be somewhat lower ing growth by lowering cost that has dominated the industry than that reported in FACT 2. since deregulation. An airspace redesign effort is underway in the New York area, and it has the potential to improve the efficiency of the A.1.2.3 Airport Perspective on Congestion three major airports. The airspace redesign was not addressed by FACT 2, nor were the potential benefits factored into the The issue of air traffic congestion and delay is sometimes report's conclusions. In addition, there is an ongoing effort at summarized at the national level as the simple prospect of the national level to develop slot allocation procedures for use impending gridlock in the sky. However, airport operators at the New York airports. Officials of the PANYNJ believe that see a much more complicated situation, in which factors such well-designed procedures could play a key role in controlling as technology, government policy, economic growth, traveler congestion and delay, but they disagree with the approach that preferences, market forces, finance, and local politics interact has been proposed over the past few years. They prefer sched- to influence the ability of an airport to perform at an accept- ule coordination procedures similar to those already in use in able level. Within this framework, congestion is viewed not other countries, developed by the IATA, as better suited to the as a looming disaster but rather an ongoing challenge that New York airports. requires a multifaceted strategy that is technically feasible, A regional airport system planning effort is underway in the affordable, politically acceptable, and flexible. Many of the Bay Area to address issues related to the distribution of traffic planners who were interviewed addressed demand as a mar- among the three major airports (SFO, OAK, and SJO); the ket force that is not entirely predictable. This is somewhat dif- potential to add traffic to other existing airports, construct a ferent from an alternative viewpoint, which envisions a steady new airport, or add a new runway to an existing airport; and growth in scheduled traffic, without regard to delay, until the prospects for some form of demand management to bring gridlock occurs. The airport planners emphasized the uncer- airline schedules into conformity with airfield capacity. The tainty that is inherent in forecasts of demand. All have had planning effort is in the early stages and, although participants experience with some degree of congestion and high delay, are optimistic, major results are probably 510 years away. particularly during extended periods of adverse weather. However, none of them spoke in terms of gridlock, and none foresaw a future in which all options to enhance capacity A.1.2.2 Reduction of Airline Schedules would be exhausted. More significant to the near-term outlook is the combined effect of a struggling economy and substantial increases in A.1.2.4 Financial Capability of Airports fuel costs, which pose a threat to the financial viability of U.S. airlines. The airline reaction is still emerging, but major Historically, the busiest airports have been able to draw themes include de-emphasis of small aircraft--particularly on a variety of funding sources for capital improvements, regional jets--elimination of marginally profitable routes, including grants, passenger facility charges, and bonds. The retirement of inefficient aircraft, and downsizing of person- busiest airports have been able to maintain excellent credit nel rosters. These measures are likely to relieve runway con- ratings even during periods of economic hard times for the gestion by reducing the number of flights and increasing the airlines. However, the current financial crisis within the air- average number of passengers per aircraft operation, in effect line industry is clearly having an effect on airports. There is up-gauging the airline fleets using congested airports. increased emphasis on revenue generation by airports and Another likely effect of high fuel costs and a sluggish econ- ongoing efforts to reduce costs. omy will be slower growth in demand, probably lagging well Many airports indicated that airlines have become frugal behind current FAA forecasts for at least the next 5 years. and are reluctant to make improvements within leased areas,
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127 and some report that airlines may be neglecting expensive A.1.2.6 Involvement in Regional Planning maintenance--for example, on baggage conveyor systems. through MPOs The extent of these frugal policies varies, depending on the A powerful regional transportation planning process is a type of agreement an airport has with its tenants. Airports with primarily common-use gate and ticket counter areas, mandatory aspect of federal aid for surface transportation in such as SFO, are less affected than airports where individual air- major metropolitan areas. However, the mandate does not lines have exclusive use of terminals. Another effect of frugal air- extend to aviation, with the result that airport involvement in line budgets is to delay ongoing capital improvement programs. regional planning varies from city to city. For example, the pace of midfield terminal development at IAD Only a handful of the nation's MPOs (notably Washington, would be slowed if the major tenant is forced to curtail spend- D.C., Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Southern California) have ing. The regional planning effort in the Bay Area is in part a been able to maintain a staff specialist dedicated to aviation recognition that a new runway at SFO or OAK is likely to be too issues, and only one (Washington, D.C.) receives a steady and expensive in the future for a single airport to finance. reliable stream of federal aid to support aviation activities. In the Washington metro area, ongoing activities include fore- casting and passenger surveys. The development of effective A.1.2.5 Interaction with Rail reliever airports to serve general aviation has been an impor- Airport access is primarily by automobile, which provides tant activity in Philadelphia and St. Louis. In Southern Cali- a large part of airport revenues through parking lot and car fornia, numerous studies have been undertaken, including rental fees. However, major airports tend to support link- airspace utilization and potential sites for new airports. ages to regional rail systems wherever possible, despite high The amount of cooperation and coordination between the development costs. DCA has incorporated Metro rail into planning staff of major airports and MPOs depends largely the terminal complex. BWI, PHL, EWR, BOS, JFK, SFO, on the activities the MPO has underway. The broadest and and OAK have convenient links, typically by dedicated bus best defined relationship is in the Washington, D.C., area, or people mover. Metro rail service to IAD is currently being where three major airports (IAD, DCA, and BWI) draw on designed. The most notable obstacle to effective rail links the MPO for passenger survey data, forecasts, and support has been high cost, which can be subsidized by the airport in airport ground access analysis. The airports are pleased only under certain conditions because of federal restrictions with the arrangement and rely on the data as a sound basis on the use of airport revenues for non-aviation purposes. for planning. The more typical arrangement, however, is an Convenient connections are also provided to Amtrak at annual meeting of the airport and MPO staff, with briefings BWI, PHL, and EWR. on current activities and surface transportation plans. The PANYNJ has met and exchanged data with Amtrak regarding Boston and Washington service and discussed the A.1.2.7 Ad Hoc Regional Planning need for more rail capacity in those markets. The enormous shift of travelers from aviation to Amtrak was the result of Many major airports have been or are now involved in faster and more comfortable train sets and the additional time regional planning efforts on an ad hoc basis, addressing issues required by aviation security procedures enacted since that extend beyond their immediate service areas. A notable 9/11/2001. The PANYNJ believes that the shift is long term and example is the New England Regional Airport System Plan, is unlikely to be reversed by faster security procedures. It is sponsored by the FAA and a coalition of 6 states and 11 air- interesting to note that, while Amtrak's share of the Boston ports. The study included a detailed analysis of the passenger NYC market has risen to over 50%--with a corresponding forecasts, origins and destinations, and passenger preferences reduction in passengers at Boston and New York airports--the when deciding which airport to use. The resulting plan recog- number of scheduled flights in those markets has not been sig- nizes that BOS alone cannot meet the regional demand for air nificantly reduced. It appears that flight frequency in dense, transportation, but the demand can be met by the 11-airport short-haul markets is not always closely linked to passenger system, at least through 2020, provided appropriate improve- volume, as discussed in Chapter 2 of the Report. ments are made. On the West Coast, the director of SFO is a prominent sup- The regional approach was bolstered by the introduction porter of a proposal to develop an HSR system to link major of additional service by one national carrier to MHT, PVD, cities in California. The eventual benefit would be to give and Bradley. The regional concept has been very successful in short-haul travelers the option of using rail, freeing airport New England. During the period 19961999, about 75% of space for long-haul passengers. The current thinking would increased passenger movements in the region occurred at locate the rail stations in densely populated areas, and air- regional airports rather than at BOS. Observers note that the ports would be linked to them by regional rail. regional concept was carefully tailored to the New England
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128 environment, where air travel is 80% higher than the national plan. Runways will be very difficult to build at other airports average and a number of large regional airports are sur- where space is limited. LAX will pursue a runway relocation rounded by viable air transportation markets. to expedite operations by very large aircraft for the purpose The PANYNJ undertook an inventory and forecast for the of reducing runway incursions, an important safety consid- eight-airport system around the New York region, including eration. SFO has stopped the analysis of the environmental Westchester County Airport, Islip, and Trenton. The findings impact of a new runway, looking to a regional study for indicate that demand for air transportation is heavily concen- advice about future requirements and options. PHL has an trated in the central core of the area, particularly within the environmental analysis underway for a new runway, but the limits of New York City, and this will limit the potential util- results will not be known for several years. The outlook for ity of outlying airports. However, the PANYNJ did take a new runways in general is particularly gloomy owing to high leasehold interest in Stewart Airport and intends to improve construction cost estimates and the weak financial condition it to draw air travelers from the surrounding area. of the airline industry. The regional study now underway in the Bay Area, involv- Ground access and terminal buildings are also concerns, ing the airport operators at SFO, OAK, and SJO, is another but these face fewer local political problems than new run- example of a regional strategy. This study reflects the unwill- ways. The major obstacle they will face in the near term is apt ingness and perhaps the inability of the individual airports to to be financial. undertake major improvements such as new runways with- Multimodal activities are often undertaken by major air- out a regional consensus that the development is warranted ports. Linkages to regional rail and connections to Amtrak, and preferable to any alternatives. typically via a dedicated people mover, are common. On the West Coast, SFO is a major supporter of HSR proposed for A.1.2.8 Conclusions from the Airport Interviews service between major cities in California. Major airports are not heavily involved with metropolitan Major airports in the East and West Coast corridors are planning agencies, which are a mandatory part of the federal concerned about issues related to accommodating future funding process for federal aid to surface transportation. The demand for travel with an acceptable level of service. coordination between airports and regional planning organ- The most difficult aspect is providing adequate runway izations depends greatly on whether the planning agency capacity to meet forecast increases in aircraft operations. maintains a specialist in aviation and on the studies that are Improved ATC technology, presented by the FAA as the currently underway. NextGen ATC system, is expected to increase the rate at which Some large airports are involved in ad hoc regional plan- aircraft can land on runways. This improvement was included ning, including those in Boston, New York, and San Francisco. in the analysis for the FACT-2 Report and, while significant, These studies are typically undertaken by the airport in coop- it is not adequate to keep pace with rising demand. The eration with the FAA. The studies are multijurisdictional and biggest gains are likely to be enjoyed during instrument extend beyond the airport service area. The purpose of the weather at airports, such as PHL, EWR, and SFO, which are studies and the composition of sponsoring agencies vary from currently unable to use their closely spaced parallel runways city to city. efficiently. NextGen should permit aircraft to continue to use visual spacing rules even during instrument weather conditions. A.2 Considerations about However, some airport managers interviewed are skeptical Airspace Limitations about the ability to translate technical advances into higher A.2.1 Defining the Issues landing rates in a timely manner. New York area airport man- of Airspace Constraint agers expressed the position that improvements to date have been used to monitor controller conformance to existing There are two different types of airspace constraints affect- rules with greater precision, resulting in a decline in the num- ing airports in the study areas, each with somewhat different ber of aircraft that can be landed in a given amount of time. possible solutions: (a) deficiencies in individual airport capac- In this view, the eventual benefit of NextGen may be to ity and (b) regional airspace interactions that prevent realiza- greatly reduce the delays that are now encountered when tion of individual airport capacity. adverse weather reduces runway capacity, but only permit the addition of a few flights during the visual flight rule weather A.2.1.1 At the Airport Level that occurs more than 90% of the time. Additional runways are under construction at IAD, where The most common and commonly recognized form of provision was made for them in the initial airport master airspace constraint is the lack of capacity at the individual
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129 airport level, particularly at OD airports in the study regions.1 being procured. That initial system provides surveillance per- Individual airports' lack of capacity most often manifests formance similar to existing radar systems, requires that air- itself with high levels of delay during instrument meteorolog- craft be equipped with the Wide Area Augmentation System ical conditions, when ATC procedures reduce the airport (WAAS) that few airlines are planning to install,3 cannot sup- acceptance rate to below the scheduled levels. However, in port approaches to runways spaced more closely than today's some cases, such as what occurred in SFO in the summer of 4,300-ft limitation, and, in its present form, will not improve 2000 or at LGA in the summer of 2001, airport capacity can the capacity of constrained airports. Finally, the use of conges- be exceeded even in good weather by unconstrained airline tion management tools to maximize capacity and stimulate scheduling practices. Looking to a future that might require up-gauging at congested airports is being actively pursued, but substantial increases in the number of aircraft operations it is highly controversial and may not be politically viable. Sec- needed to satisfy passenger demand, as is assumed by the tions 5.3 and 5.4 of this Report address the issues of up-gauging NextGen program, this lack of individual airport capacity and congestion management. could pose a serious constraint at an increasing number of The existence of multiple airports in the mega-regions airports in the study areas. included in this study complicates the efficient use of termi- The solutions to individual airport capacity limitations range nal airspace. Airspace separation standards currently in from the construction of new runways, to improved air traffic use in these regions' terminal airspace were developed at a procedures, to increased use of regional airports, to NextGen2 time when navigation and surveillance accuracies were prim- technology improvements, to rational congestion management itive compared with current capabilities. In many instances, techniques that limit excessive scheduled activity. The difficulty these regions must also deal with the existence of military air- of constructing new runways at the critical airports in the study space in close proximity to terminal airspace. The mega- areas is well known and is unlikely to prevent the addition of sig- region airports are also affected by the heavy traffic occurring nificant capacity at the critical study area airports. However, one in the en route environment that often limits the amount of advanced NextGen operational improvement being considered traffic that en route sectors can accommodate from these air- might permit instrument approaches to runways more closely ports. The application of Required Navigational Performance spaced than today's technologies allow and could open the pos- (RNP) technologies has potential to relieve these constraints. sibility of "infill" runways constructed between existing run- ways at some of the study area airports. A.2.1.2 Constraint from Conflicting Interactions Improved air traffic procedures also hold significant potential. As an example, the New York Airspace Aviation The second type of constraint in the study area is caused by Rulemaking Committee recommended initiation of mixed conflicting interactions between airspace used to support arrival/departure operations on EWR's two runways, which had multiple airports or military users in a given region. Within a been traditionally operated for only arrival or departure opera- given terminal area serving a metropolitan area, the airspace tions. This initiative is being pursued and represents a class of required under today's rules to ensure safe operations is large potential improvement to other idiosyncratic ATC procedures and overlaps between the surfaces needed to protect opera- that limit capacity at study area airports. Increased use of tions at one airport sometimes preclude the use of certain regional airports has been well demonstrated in New England runways at other regional airports. This problem is currently (BOS, MHT, PVD), and holds promise in other study areas, most severe in the New York area, but exists to a lesser extent provided that regional air traffic capacity can support the in other metropolitan areas. increased traffic at secondary airports and environmental con- At other locations, the requirements of the military have siderations do not preclude development of regional airports. similar impacts on regional air traffic. The corridors leading Other NextGen technologies also offer a broad promise into and out of Southern California and the offshore airspace of improving capacity, but the program is dealing with the in the Northeast are currently affected by the static nature of inability to translate the theoretical promise of technologies military airspace, which precludes its use by civil aviation, like Automatic Dependent SurveillanceBroadcast (ADSB) even when it is not actively being used by military exercises. to benefits that airlines can realistically use. A telling example In their most extreme manifestation, both of these types of of this challenge is the ADSB/OUT system that is currently regional airspace conflicts severely impede the delivery of 1 Interconnecting hub airport congestion is discussed in Section 1.3 of the 3 Major air carriers are reacting to FAA plans that envision WAAS as primarily of Report. use by general aviation aircraft operating into small airports with no ground- 2 It should be noted that the full NextGen program includes the domain of air based precision landing systems. The plan provided for development of a higher traffic, aircraft, and airports. The analysis contained in this section, however, precision Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS) to be used by major airlines deals primarily with those aspects impacting capacity and congestion. at larger commercial service airports. LAAS development is currently on hold.
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130 aircraft to some critical airports, effectively resulting in an Around 80% of commercial aircraft are now equipped with inability to use the existing regional runway capacity. Similar RNAV and RNP avionics capability. RNAV increases the num- constraints exist in transitional en route airspace near the con- ber of departure routes, allowing controllers to disperse aircraft gested terminal areas, when departures from regional airports more efficiently. The benefits of the use of RNAV departures to cannot be inserted into the overhead traffic flows because of reduce terminal area inefficiency are being seen in some major nearby sector saturation. airports (e.g., Dallas/Fort Worth and Atlanta Hartsfield), and Traditional solutions to this regional airspace congestion such use of airplane capability is slowly increasing. As airplanes involve redesigning the airspace to provide additional routes get close to the runway, airport throughput in today's system is and fixes. However, this is a painfully slow process, and envi- often constrained by visibility and cloud ceiling conditions. The ronmental controversies stemming from new routings have the availability of runway configurations and separation standards potential to limit their applicability.4 As with individual airport on final approach is dependent on weather conditions-- capacity problems, NextGen technologies can greatly reduce the that is, visual meteorological conditions (VMC), marginal volume of airspace needed to protect approaches to airports VMC, or instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). The and can permit simultaneous operations to different airports in result is that when weather conditions deteriorate, runway high-density terminal airspace. However, as with the impact of configurations are limited and in-trail separations between NextGen on individual airports, it is unclear whether the actual airplanes are increased, reducing throughput substantially delivery of those capabilities will be achieved or that air carriers in some cases. This problem is compounded when con- will make the necessary investments in aircraft systems to sup- trollers are operating arrivals with mixed-weight categories, port the NextGen technologies. since IMC-based separations may be substantially larger than Airspace and ATC constraints affect the study area airports those during VMC to avoid wake vortex encounters between to varying degrees. Most of the major airports in the mega- heavier leading and lighter trailing airplanes. Many of the regions either currently suffer from some degree of individual problems associated with dependent operations on closely airport capacity constraint or are likely to under the NextGen spaced parallel, crossing, and converging runways could be traffic assumptions. Several of the major metroplexes also suf- reduced by the development and use of alternate proce- fer regional airspace congestion that threatens to limit the abil- dures that enable operations in lower ceiling and visibility ity of the en route ATC system to feed or accept traffic from conditions. study area airports. Traditional capacity enhancements such as RNP builds on RNAV, allowing pilots to use more precise adding runways or traditional navaids at major airports; air- navigation upon arrival and departure. RNP is essentially space redesign; and adoption of simple overlay Area Navigation RNAV with the addition of an onboard monitoring and alert- (RNAV), RNP, or WAAS procedures are unlikely to provide ing function. New procedures enabled by these capabilities significant relief at the congested airports. Further development should be implemented in the near future, with emphasis on of regional airports in the mega-regions, while holding prom- arrivals and departures between airports near each other, including EWR, JFK, and LGA. RNP permits controllers to ise, is threatened by regional airspace conflicts. Innovative pro- sequence aircraft further out from the airports, where there is cedures supported by advanced NextGen technologies hold the more space to do so. This makes the flow of air traffic more promise of providing substantial capacity increases--both at efficient, even in bad weather. the individual airport and at the regional level--but some lead- ADSB is a backbone of NextGen. It is a satellite-based ers in the aviation community believe that the timing of their technology that broadcasts aircraft identification, position, delivery is somewhat uncertain at present. In short, for purposes and speed with once-per-second updates (as compared with of this study, it is not clear at this point whether the airspace and the current 5- to 12-second refresh from today's radar). air traffic capacity in the mega-regions will be capable of accom- Although a time savings of 411 seconds may seem brief, this modating the anticipated demand. savings actually allows for far greater accuracy in determin- ing aircraft position. PHL, which has been selected as an ini- A.2.1.3 Candidate Technologies for Application tial key site for the installation of ADSB, is scheduled to have coverage both in terminal airspace and on the airport surface A number of ATC programs and new technologies show by February 2010. promise to help ease congestion at some mega-region air- ADSB technology allows time-critical information to ports, including RNAV, RNP, ADSB, and airspace redesign. be sent from air traffic managers to aircraft digitally rather than through voice-only analog means. ADSB is to be imple- 4 The recent NYC area airspace redesign has prompted vigorous opposition by mented nationwide by the end of 2010. It holds the promise congressional delegations in New Jersey and Connecticut. It is unclear what effect of providing more precise aircraft position information than this opposition will have on the ultimate adoption of the redesigned procedures. radar and allows aircraft safely to fly closer together, increasing
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131 capacity. However, as mentioned earlier, the actual in-service The results indicate that, at an average system-wide level, accomplishment of these higher precision capabilities remains RNP implementation would be adequate to enable traffic uncertain. growth at least through 2010 and would reduce predicted The New York Airspace Redesign Project, currently under- system-wide delays by about 50% by 2020. Boeing staff way, is intended to address congestion and delay in the believes that most improvements will be in the form of effi- New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia area. The project's goal is ciency benefits to reduce fuel cost and emissions with some to enhance the efficiency and reliability of the airspace struc- capacity benefits. The goal is to increase operational pre- ture and the ATC system for pilots, airlines, and the traveling dictability, thus increasing efficiency. This should benefit public, while laying a foundation for NextGen. Implementation chronically overloaded sectors such as those in the Cleve- of this project will be able to use procedures like RNAV and land center and sectors along the path between the LA area RNP. For example, only a few miles separate the streams of and the Northeast. arrivals at EWR and LGA. Southbound LGA departures are Boeing provided a caveat on its sector capacity analysis "climbed over" EWR arrivals and the approach path to by noting that the quantification of sector capacity is con- LGA can depend in part on runway use at JFK; this repre- troversial because there is yet no reliable and commonly sents only a fraction of the activity. This interdependency accepted metric for this parameter. To get some sort of esti- means that PHL departures are frequently delayed because mate of growth in sector capacity, Boeing held discussions of volume in New York. With Philadelphia and New York with FAA staff about the extent to which sector capacity has airspace so interdependent, technologies deployed in one increased due to adoption of another procedural improve- airport in the region will have a beneficial "cascade" effect ment, Reduced Vertical Separation Minima (RVSM), a few on the others. Thus, deployment of technology and other years ago. Implementation of RVSM increased overall sec- solutions at JFK should reduce congestion and result in tor capacity on the order of 15% as a system-wide average according to FAA staff. Boeing used this estimate as a basis fewer delays at PHL. for its model-based estimate of the growth in sector capac- One feature of the redesign effort is the "terminalization" ity resulting from implementation of RNP. As a result of of the airspace. The project expands the terminal airspace basing its modeling on an estimate, Boeing considers its over a larger geographical area than is currently designated model results to be a very preliminary assessment based on and expands it vertically up to 23,000 ft. above mean sea the only available sector capacity metric for the NAS. Fur- level in some areas. Upon project implementation, some ther work would have to be done on human performance airspace sectors that are currently worked in the en route or modeling to develop more confidence in these results. center environment will be worked using terminal rules and The computer simulation modeling experts detailed to equipment. Expanding the terminal airspace permits air the JPDO office have been able to model today's national traffic control to use terminal separation rules as well as the airspace system performance. They are still working up more flexible terminal holding rules over a larger area. This NextGen benefits and report having more work to do. It is improved flexibility should make traffic flow more efficient, proving difficult to translate surface operational improve- even in poor weather conditions. ments into the system model because many objectives do not lend themselves to being modeled. For example, A.2.1.4 Capacity Impact Assessment some objectives are of the form, "Improve the efficiency of X," or, "Reduce inefficiency in Y." The problem is there Some work is taking place to assess the expected benefits of is no information on what the baseline state is relative to the new concepts and technologies that NextGen comprises. efficiency/inefficiency, so there is nothing to track against The Boeing Commercial Airplane Company has assessed one to calculate the benefit. Thus, about half of the NextGen oper- of the NextGen technologies, and the DOT's Joint Planning ational improvements have not yet been modeled because of and Development Office (JPDO) is currently developing an lack of specificity. assessment that is still preliminary. It is difficult to cite the overall benefits of NextGen because In 2006, Boeing assessed the implementation of RNP by many are airport specific. However, preliminary work performing a model-based benefits assessment for airports conducted thus far indicates that full implementation of and airspace in the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS). NextGen has the potential to eliminate the gap between The primary outputs of the model, Boeing's National Flow VMC and IMC operations at many airports. However, Model, are annualized delay across the NAS and sector-loading since airlines typically schedule to near the VMC capacity metrics. Delays tied to airport capacity constraints in all visi- of airports, reducing this gap has the potential to reduce bility conditions as well as airspace constraints due to air traf- delays, but not to materially increase capacity in VMC fic sector workload were assessed. weather.
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132 Table A.2. Study airports and their airspace constraints. Boston Logan--Proximity to other airports and to heavy-traffic sectors Kennedy--Proximity to other airports La Guardia--Proximity to other airports Newark--Proximity to other airports Philadelphia--Proximity to other airports and to heavy-traffic sectors Baltimore--Proximity to other airports Washington National--Proximity to other airports Washington Dulles--Proximity to other airports and to military-controlled airspace San Francisco--Proximity to other airports Oakland--Proximity to other airports Los Angeles--Proximity to other airports and to heavy-traffic sectors San Diego--Proximity to heavy-traffic sectors A.2.2 Airspace Constraints the use of hub airports suggests that carriers will try to match at Study Airports arrival and departure schedules so as to minimize passengers' connect times. As hub airports in the coastal mega-regions The primary airspace constraints affecting airport capacity also serve passengers with local origins and destinations, are proximity to other airports, controlled/reserved military flight schedules at these airports typically exhibit AM and PM airspace, and heavy-traffic sectors. These are summarized in peaking patterns that correspond to the peak demands of Table A.2. both local and connecting passengers. When carriers try to match arriving and departing flights in these peaks in a way A.3 Constraints Due to Airline that minimizes connect times, the peaks can be exacerbated. Practices: Hubbing Congestion A recent research project undertaken at MIT was designed to determine whether passengers in fact seek to minimize con- Sections A.3 and A.4 review the basic logic of getting the nect times in itineraries that involve connects at hub airports.5 airlines to cooperate in programs to gain more productivity The hypothesis developed by the research team was that air out of a given amount of runway capacity, focusing on the passengers have a more complicated preference structure that concept of achieving more throughput through the use of includes several other factors and that, in particular, involves a larger aircraft and decreased use of smaller aircraft. For any non-monotonic relationship between connect times and "util- given number of slots, or opportunities for take-off and land- ing, the size of the aircraft will determine the throughput of ity," or desirability, of an itinerary. Airport/airline minimum the airport (assuming the ground-side terminals are prepared connect times are set in a way that in theory provides both (a) a for the increase in passenger volumes). reasonable time margin to allow passengers to deplane, move This section of Appendix A examines two cases in which air- between gates, and board a connecting flight and (b) time for line operational strategy influences the capacity of the airport, baggage for connecting passengers to move similarly between usually above and beyond the control of the airport manage- the arriving and departing flight. Further, these minimum ment, or even the FAA and examines the airport congestion connect times presumably allow for some level of delay in the implications of the assumption that all flights need to arrive arriving flight. and depart in a minimized time envelope. Rather, work under- However, the minimum connect times do not explicitly taken recently by members of the research team, in coopera- represent the dimensions of passenger preferences beyond tion with a major European airline and the Massachusetts scheduled itinerary time minimization. The MIT research Institute of Technology (MIT), suggests that the air traveler hypothesized that at least some passengers might actually places value on the reliability of the plane-to-plane connection prefer longer scheduled connect times to accommodate (a) risk as much as the time-minimization of that transfer. averseness to missed connections and (b) activities such as eat- ing and checking email. This potential attractiveness of addi- A.3.1 Effects of Air Carrier Hubbing on Airport Peaking 5 Theis, G., et al. "Risk Averseness Regarding Short Connections in Airline Itin- Although air carriers in practice operate using different erary Choice," Transportation Research Record 1951, Transportation Research competitive strategies for constructing optimal flight schedules, Board, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., 2006.
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133 tional buffer time for transfer movement could offset the Many factors are confounded in data on actual travel pat- negative consequences of longer average itinerary times. terns that are available through sources such as the DOT's Figure A.1 illustrates three components of an air passen- DB1B 10% ticket sample and booking records from global dis- ger's utility that could be affected by scheduled connect times. tribution systems in the form of MIDT (Market Information The "value of time" represents the cost that passengers associ- Data Transfer) files. As a result, the MIT team chose to use ate with each minute of additional itinerary time. This can be a primary survey research approach to address the issue of offset in part by the perceived (and actual) increase in likeli- whether and by how much connect times could be increased to hood for a successful transfer with longer connect times. The best suit air passengers. A survey instrument was developed to final element, here labeled "Rush," may associate positive ben- address the research issue. That instrument included detailed efits to some additional amount of time available for eating, questions about U.S. air passengers' most recent domestic air checking email, and so on during the transfer. When these ele- trips and a set of stated preference (also known as choice-based ments are added together, the result is a shape that potentially conjoint) questions that explored the effects of different con- has increasing utility (benefit) for some additional amount of nect times on passengers' likely behavior for a given trip. The time above the minimum connect time, flattens off, and then survey was administered to more than 800 air passengers, and turns down as the value of additional time in the airport ends the results were used to develop discrete choice models of pas- and the value of travel time component dominates. This shape sengers' itinerary choices. implies that connecting times greater than the published min- imum connect times are preferred by air travelers. A.3.2 Findings: Delays Associated Within the coastal mega-regions, the minimum connect with Hubbing Connect Times times for domestic-to-domestic transfers range from 30 min. (e.g., BOS) to 60 min. (e.g., JFK, EWR). Carriers will create itin- The findings of this research were that, on average, itineraries eraries that respect these minimum connect times, but these having additional connect times of up to 15 min. above the times do not always avoid missed connections, nor do they rep- minimums were associated with increasing utilities (attractive- resent the amount of time that passengers will have to accom- ness) on the basis of the rush factor alone. Increasing connect modate personal activities within the airport. During the peak times to reduce the likelihood of missed connections could fur- periods and at the busiest hub airports, much of that connect ther increase the passenger-perceived optimal connect time, time could be consumed by flight delays. As a result, knowl- especially during peak periods at busy hub airports. While this edgeable air travelers whose itineraries require connections may finding is not especially surprising in retrospect, the possibility well prefer itineraries with connections that are longer than the of this type of result had not been previously theorized nor had specified airport/carrier minimum connect times. any similar empirical work been previously reported. Hypothesis: Three components of disutility associated with scheduled elapsed time in connecting itineraries Value of time Utility Scheduled connecting time Transfer success rate Utility Scheduled connecting time Rush Utility Scheduled connecting time Total Utility Scheduled connecting time MCT minimum connecting time as published by airport MCT window of indifference Figure A.1. Diagram showing how components of air passenger's utility potentially affected by scheduled connect times (from Adler, Clark, and Ben-Akiva; 2006).
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134 Were air carriers to accept the notion that longer connect demands during those periods, the full "price signal" that times might indeed be preferred by passengers, and given the includes both the fare and the indirect costs to the travel con- operational costs associated with trying to maintain short con- sumer of flight delays is not passed through to the less well- nection times, it is possible that carriers could use this addi- informed air travelers. As a result, many of the less-experienced tional information to de-peak their schedules to some extent air travelers end up with itineraries that are not, for them, and thus relieve some of the peak congestion. However, given optimal in that the hidden cost of flight delays have not been the natural tendency of travelers to prefer certain arrival and considered. In addition, given that approximately 60% of departure times and the fact that a major portion of traffic at travelers are on non-business itineraries for which delays have the major airports in the coastal mega-region has local origins much lower perceived costs, it is not surprising that airlines are or destinations, this adjustment by itself would be unlikely to able to continue to sell seats even on flights with exceptionally eliminate peak congestion at these airports. low on-time performance. The magnitude of the effects of delayed flights, both on pas- It is in each carrier's best interest to provide peak-period sengers and on carriers, should constitute a strong incentive to flights as long as there is demand for those flights at a rea- address at least one of the root causes: congestion caused by sonable price. The competition among airlines for slots flight schedules that approach or exceed airport capacity. Most in those periods with finite airside and landside capacity experienced travelers are well aware of the locations and pat- creates a "tragedy of the commons"7 in which the individ- terns of flight delays from their own personal experience and ual airlines, each acting in its own interest, degrade a shared may further inform themselves using information from the resource (in this case, the airports' peak period). In some numerous on-line sites that offer both historical and real-time ways, this problem is analogous to that faced by most trans- flight performance data.6 However, the less-experienced air portation services. Transportation demands vary signifi- travelers, who constitute the majority in most air markets, do cantly over time, with strong diurnal, weekly, and seasonal not necessarily apply similar knowledge when choosing among patterns. Infrastructure capacity is generally fixed and, alternative travel itineraries. Virtually none of the major for a variety of reasons, service levels degrade rapidly as consumer-oriented online booking sites provide on-time per- demand approaches capacity. In many cases, it is either too formance information for the flight itineraries that they create. expensive or simply infeasible to provide sufficient infra- As a result, a flight during a peak period with very low on-time structure capacity for the peak demands. Although the performance will, in advance, appear undifferentiated from actions of each individual in these cases may be optimal for other flights with higher on-time performance. that individual, the outcome can be one in which everyone Although carriers' yield management policies might result is worse off than if some system were put in place to better in higher fares for peak-period flights as a result of higher allocate the capacity. 6For example, DOT's BTS maintains monthly online flight performance data, 7 This term was popularized in the article by Hardin, G. "The Tragedy and dedicated sites such as flightstats.com offer detailed ratings of flights by OD of the Commons." Science, Vol. 162, No. 3859, December 13, 1968, pp. 1243 pair, carrier, and even flight number along with real-time tracking of flights. 1248.