The National Academies

ACRP 03-17 [Final]

Evaluating Airfield Capacity

  Project Data
Funds: $525,000
Research Agency: Leigh Fisher
Principal Investigator: William Dunlay
Effective Date: 6/29/2009
Completion Date: 6/30/2012

Airport capacity and its related implementation is a critical evaluation component of most airport planning projects; therefore, it is important that appropriate guidance be available to the aviation industry on measuring capacity and delay. While airport sponsors often employ more sophisticated methods for evaluating capacity, the FAA’s Advisory Circular 150/5060-5 Airport Capacity and Delay (AC) is the formal FAA guidance on this topic. To use the AC or the Airport Capacity Model (ACM), airport planners must choose one or more runway nomographs that, singly or collectively, most closely match the airport’s runway layout.  There are also complex, higher fidelity simulation models which can be resource and data intensive, such as SIMMOD and TAAM.  With the many current and evolving factors and limitations that influence capacity at a given airport, there is a need to enhance capacity modeling tools and techniques to provide the accuracy appropriate to make timely and cost-effective critical project funding decisions.
The objective of this research was to develop a guidebook to assist airport planners with airfield and airspace capacity evaluation. The guidebook addresses airport airfield and airspace capacity planning at all tyes of airports. The term “airfield” capacity refers to runways, taxiways, apron areas, and aircraft parking positions.  “Airspace” capacity for this research is defined as the approach and departure procedures in the immediate vicinity of an airport that directly affects airfield capacity.  
The guidebook includes (1)  an assessment of relevant methods and modeling techniques for evaluating existing and future capacity for airports beyond those outlined in the current the FAA’s Advisory Circular 150/5060-5 Airport Capacity and Delay (Advisory Circular) or the Airport Capacity Model; (2) identification of the limitations of the existing techniques; and (3) development of specifications for new models, tools, or enhancements. This guidebook presents capacity modeling guidelines that will improve the decision-making process for determining the appropriate level of modeling sophistication for a given planning study or capital improvement project and makes the process more consistent from airport to airport.  A functional prototype of one or more modeling tools has also been developed as part of this project.
Status:   The research is published as Report 79. More information on the background of the research can be found in the contractor's final report.  

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