A review of aircraft turnaround operations and simulations

Research paper by MichaelSchmidt1

Indexed on: 28 Oct '17Published on: 01 Jul '17Published in: Progress in Aerospace Sciences


The ground operational processes are the connecting element between aircraft en-route operations and airport infrastructure. An efficient aircraft turnaround is an essential component of airline success, especially for regional and short-haul operations. It is imperative that advancements in ground operations, specifically process reliability and passenger comfort, are developed while dealing with increasing passenger traffic in the next years. This paper provides an introduction to aircraft ground operations focusing on the aircraft turnaround and passenger processes. Furthermore, key challenges for current aircraft operators, such as airport capacity constraints, schedule disruptions and the increasing cost pressure, are highlighted. A review of the conducted studies and conceptual work in this field shows pathways for potential process improvements. Promising approaches attempt to reduce apron traffic and parallelize passenger processes and taxiing. The application of boarding strategies and novel cabin layouts focusing on aisle, door and seat, are options to shorten the boarding process inside the cabin. A summary of existing modeling and simulation frameworks give an insight into state-of-the-art assessment capabilities as it concerns advanced concepts. They are the prerequisite to allow a holistic assessment during the early stages of the preliminary aircraft design process and to identify benefits and drawbacks for all involved stakeholders.