An international team of researchers working on airport improvements is developing a novel computerised approach for airline operations. This will include reducing delays, speeding up baggage handling and decreasing pollution.
The team at The University of Nottingham aims to computerise and co-ordinate four key areas of airport operations: scheduling of aeroplanes taking-off and landing, gate assignment and baggage handling.
Currently, these four aspects of airport operations are, in most cases, organised manually by highly skilled staff making decisions based on observations, reports and their experience.
As well as enhancing the experience for passengers, the improvements in scheduling will also reduce pollution by minimising the time planes are on the ground with engines running.
This could save thousands of litres of aviation fuel every year, a vital improvement given the growth in air travel predicted in the coming years, say researchers.
"We'll be developing a computer system that will work its way through the many billions of permutations created daily in each of these operations, to provide a much higher level of computer-aided decision support than is currently available," said Professor Edmund Burke, principal investigator on the project and Dean of the Faculty of Science at The University of Nottingham.
This will provide the best possible advice to runway controllers and other airport staff to inform their decisions regarding where planes and baggage are moved to," Burke added.