Airspace complexity: airspace response to disturbances
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In ongoing efforts to balance air traffic demand and airspace capacity, airspace complexity stands as a fundamental research problem. Taking a more analytic approach, this thesis proposes that airspace complexity can be described in terms of how the airspace (together with the traffic inside it and the traffic control algorithm) responds to disturbances. The response of the airspace to a disturbance is captured by the degree of control activity required to accommodate such disturbance. Furthermore, since the response of the airspace depends on the disturbance, this thesis introduces a complexity map which shows how an airspace responses to a set of different disturbances. Among the many possible types of disturbances, this thesis considers an aircraft entering into the airspace, and the proposed method of describing airspace complexity is illustrated with examples. The time evolution of a complexity map is investigated using a statistical approach. In addition, the proposed method is illustrated in relation to current and future traffic flow management concepts. It is also shown that the proposed method can be applied to airspace design problems.