Airport control through intelligent gate assignment
Kim, Sang Hyun
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This dissertation aims at improving the efficiency, robustness, and flexibility of airport operations through intelligent gate assignment. Traditional research on gate assignment focuses on the accommodation of passengers' demands such as walking time of passengers, and the robustness of gate assignment. In spite of its importance on the ramp operations, there is a lack of research to account ramp congestion when gates are assigned. Therefore, this dissertation proposes a new perspective on the gate assignment that accounts for ramp congestion. For that purpose, a ramp operations model based on observations at Atlanta airport is presented to understand the characteristics of aircraft movement on the ramp. The proposed gate assignment problem minimizes passenger-time spent on ramp areas. In addition, this dissertation is conducted to satisfy the needs of passengers, aircraft, and operations from the perspectives of passengers. Using actual passenger data at a major hub airport, the proposed gate assignment is assessed by means of passengers' transit time, passengers' time spent on the ramp, and passengers' waiting time for a gate. Results show that the proposed gate assignment outperforms the current gate assignment in every metric. This dissertation also analyzes the impact of gate assignment on departure metering, which controls the number of pushbacks in order to reduce airport congestion. Then, some of departing flights are held at gates, so it increases the chance of gate conflict, which reduces the efficiency of departure metering as well as ramp operations. In order to analyze the impact of gate assignment on departure metering, this dissertation simulates departure processes at two airports. Results show that the proposed robust gate assignment reduces the occurrence of gate conflicts under departure metering and helps to utilize gate-holding times to some extent.