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Suggested Citation:"Summary ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Defining and Measuring Aircraft Delay and Airport Capacity Thresholds. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22428.
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1 s U M M A R Y This report presents the results and recommendations from ACRP Project 03-20, Defin- ing and Measuring Aircraft Delay and Airport Capacity Thresholds. The objectives of this report are to (1) inventory and describe the different aircraft delay and airport capacity metrics used within the industry and (2) provide guidance on various delay and capac- ity metrics and when they should be used, particularly within the context of evaluating capacity enhancements. This report summarizes and highlights key findings from the research to assist airport planners in their capacity/delay analyses. Specifically, the report describes how the term delay is used by various industry groups, both for actual operational flight delays and theoretical or estimated delays for airport planning studies. This report summarizes findings from an extensive set of interviews with individuals from different industry organizations. Available air traffic databases are described, along with examples for airport delay analyses. Informa- tion also is provided on how delays are used in estimating capacity for airport development projects, including a review of numerous airport planning documents. The reader is referred to ACRP Report 79: Evaluating Airfield Capacity for more information on airfield capacity calculations. Although airport capacity often has been determined according to when a certain mea- sure of delay is experienced, this research does not present values of “acceptable delay” and, in fact, discourages using that label in capacity/delay estimates. This report presents tables describing what actual operational delays may occur at an airport based on when planning delays of particular values are calculated from analytical or simulation studies. These delay estimates vary by certain airport characteristics, including size, traffic schedule patterns, and how capacity varies among different weather conditions. An analyst can use these tables to determine appropriate delay threshold recommendations for a particular airport of interest. By estimating which characteristics apply to a specific airport, one can estimate the actual delays that will be experienced at that airport. Also included are some suggestions for additional metrics that can benefit the industry. This research focuses on capacity and delay of the airfield—primarily runways and taxiways. Although the researchers recognize that capacity can be defined for other parts/functions of the airport and that it is important to balance the capacity of the various elements—airside, landside, terminal—this project was specifically undertaken to provide guidance on airfield capacity and delay. Defining and Measuring Aircraft Delay and Airport Capacity Thresholds

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 104: Defining and Measuring Aircraft Delay and Airport Capacity Thresholds offers guidance to help airports understand, select, calculate, and report measures of delay and capacity. The report describes common metrics, identifies data sources, recommends metrics based on an airport’s needs, and suggests ways to potentially improve metrics.

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