a1 (Aviation Consultant)
The USA and Europe are developing plans – NextGen and SESAR – to transform the processes of Air Traffic Management (ATM). These will improve safety and efficiency, and match predicted increases in air transportation demand. They use advanced networking technology updated with information from satellite navigation and digital non-voice communication. The strategic goal, envisaged for 15–20 years hence, is a new ATM paradigm. Aircraft would fly on Four-Dimensional (4D) trajectories, incorporating altitude, position, time, and other aircraft positions and vectors. This vision would involve extremely large investments from the airline industry and ATM service providers. Thus, development priorities need to be based on sound business cases. But will these necessarily lead to the strategic vision of a 4D-trajectory system? Will the changes in practice be limited to a series of short and medium term operational improvements rather than strategic improvements? So, are there ‘Killer Apps’ for 4D-trajectory ATM? ‘Killer App(lication)s’ is jargon for innovations so valuable that they prove the core value of some larger technology. Killer Apps generate high degrees of stakeholder technical and financial cooperation. Ironically, most past ATM Killer Apps have improved safety, e.g., modern radar data processing led to collision avoidance systems. The analysis here attempts to identify and then size potential 4D-trajectory ATM Killer Apps. The evidence for Killer Apps has to pass key tests. Killer Apps obviously have to offer enormous benefits to stakeholders in the context of the potential costs. The bulk of these benefits must not be obtainable through technologically ‘cut down’ non−4D-trajectory versions. Part 1 of this paper (Brooker, 2012a) sets out the framework for investigating these questions. Part 2 examines potential Killer Apps derived from improvements in Fuel Efficiency, Capacity and Cost. An abbreviated version of this paper was first presented at the European Navigation Conference (ENC 2011), London in November 2011.
(Accepted April 15 2012)
(Online publication May 30 2012)