Reducing delays, especially in the most important flights, is a big target for air traffic management (ATM). The concept of user-driven prioritisation process (UDPP) can provide the flexibility needed for airspace users to redistribute delays across their fleet through the prioritisation of flights with high economic value. The EU-funded BEACON project will review the feasibility of extending UDPP to allow multi-prioritisation processes in the airspace (encompassing departure slots, regulation slots, arrival manager slots) as well as the exchange of slots between airlines. Specifically, it will study the impact of new mechanisms on low-volume airspace users. It will also conduct two behavioural experiments. The findings will result in new models and a deeper understanding of prioritisation in ATM beyond UDPP.
The project builds on the concept of User-Driven Prioritisation Process (UDPP) already developed by Eurocontrol. UDPP is currently a simple way for airlines to avoid impact of massive delays on their fleet, by reordering their own flights within constraints. BEACON will study the feasibility of extending UDPP to allow multi-prioritisation processes in the airspace (e.g. encompassing departure slots, regulation slots, arrival manager slots), and exchange of slots between airlines.
For this, it will build two models: a strategic model with long-term planning capabilities for the agents, and a more detailed tactical simulator to capture network effects and compute various key performance indicators. To properly capture the agents' behaviours, BEACON will make use of behavioural economics. Effect like endowment, loss-aversion, hyperbolic discounting and others will be explored, in order to take them into account in the design of the new prioritisation mechanisms right from the start.
Different types of markets and credit systems will then be tested with the models. Special attention will be paid to issues of fairness and equity, through the use of both existing and new metrics. In particular, the project will explore the impact of the new mechanisms on low-volume airspace users. The industrial partners of the consortium, as well as the Advisory Board, will be at the centre of the validation process. On top of the qualitative feedback expected through focused workshops, the project will also get important insights by performing two different kinds of behavioural experiments. To this end, a simple interface to the model will be built.
BEACON will increase the understanding on what Behavioural Economics can add to ATM concepts elaboration and validation methodologies and will deepen and broaden the concepts of prioritisation in ATM beyond UDPP and their potential impacts on Network performance.