Aerospace, Vol. 5, Pages 8: Fast Aircraft Turnaround Enabled by Reliable Passenger Boarding

Research paper by Michael Schultz

Indexed on: 18 Apr '18Published on: 15 Jan '18Published in: Aerospace


Future 4D aircraft trajectories demand comprehensive consideration of environmental, economic, and operational constraints, as well as reliable prediction of all aircraft-related processes. Mutual interdependencies between airports result in system-wide, far-reaching effects in the air traffic network (reactionary delays). To comply with airline/airport challenges over the day of operations, a change to an air-to-air perspective is necessary, with a specific focus on the aircraft ground operations as major driver for airline punctuality. Aircraft ground trajectories primarily consists of handling processes at the stand (deboarding, catering, fueling, cleaning, boarding, unloading, loading), which are defined as the aircraft turnaround. Turnaround processes are mainly controlled by ground handling, airport, or airline staff, except the aircraft boarding, which is driven by passengers’ experience and willingness/ability to follow the proposed boarding procedures. This paper provides an overview of the research done in the field of aircraft boarding and introduces a reliable, calibrated, and stochastic aircraft boarding model. The stochastic boarding model is implemented in a simulation environment to evaluate specific boarding scenarios using different boarding strategies and innovative technologies. Furthermore, the potential of a connected aircraft cabin as sensor network is emphasized, which could provide information on the current and future status of the boarding process.