Optimized flight level allocation at the continental scale

Abstract : As acknowledged by the SESAR program, current ATC systems must be drastically improved to accommodate the predicted traffic growth in Europe. This study aims at assessing the performance of 4Dtrajectory planning and strategic deconfliction, two of the key concepts identified to meet SESAR capacity objectives. Among the possible degrees of freedom, we focus here on the flight level (FL) optimization to avoid en-route conflicts between intersecting flights. The resulting problem can be reduced to Graph Coloring with a specific cost function minimizing the discrepancies to requested FLs. This FL allocation leads to very large combinatorial optimization problems when applied at the continental scale, especially when considering temporal uncertainties. The instances were solved with a Tabu Search algorithm in a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on size and conflict density. Our results shows that the global conflict resolution workload is alleviated by at least 20 %, while bounding the individual FL discrepancies to three levels for a small proportion of the traffic.
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Cyril Allignol, Nicolas Barnier, Alexandre Gondran. Optimized flight level allocation at the continental scale. ICRAT 2012, 5th International Conference on Research in Air Transportation, May 2012, Berkeley, United States. pp xxxx. ⟨hal-00938896⟩

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