Prediction and Analysis of Ground Stops with Machine Learning
Puranik, Tejas G.
Pinon, Olivia J.
Mavris, Dimitri N.
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A flight is considered to be delayed when it arrives 15 or more minutes later than scheduled. Delays attributed to the National Airspace System are one of the most common type of delays. Such delays may be caused by Traffic Management Initiatives (TMI) such as Ground Stops (GS), issued at affected airports. Ground Stops are implemented to control air traffic volume to specific airports where the projected traffic demand is expected to exceed the airports’ acceptance rate over a short period of time due to conditions such as inclement weather, volume constraints, closed runways, etc. Ground Stops can be considered to be the strictest Traffic Management Initiative (TMI), particularly because all flights destined to affected airports are grounded until conditions improve. Efforts have been made over the years to reduce the impact of Traffic Management Initiatives on airports and flight operations. However, these efforts have largely focused on otherTraffic Management Initiatives such as Ground Delay Programs (GDP), due to their frequency and duration compared to Ground Stops. Limited work has also been carried out on Ground Stops because of the limited amount of time that traffic management personnel often have between planning and implementing Ground Stops and external factors that influence decisions of traffic management personnel. Consequently, this research primarily focuses on the prediction of weather-related Ground Stops at Newark Liberty International (EWR) and LaGuardia (LGA) airports, with the secondary goal of gaining insights into factors that influence their occurrence. It is expected that this research will provide stakeholders with further insights into factors that influence the occurrence of weather-related Ground Stops at both airports. This is achieved by benchmarking Machine Learning algorithms in order to identify the best suited algorithm(s) for the prediction models, and identifying and analyzing key factors that influence the occurrence of weather-related Ground Stops at both airports. This is achieved by 1) fusing data from the Traffic Flow Management System (TFMS) and Automated Surface Observing Systems (ASOS) datasets, and 2) leveraging supervised Machine Learning algorithms to predict the occurrence of weather-related Ground Stops. The performance of these algorithms is evaluated using balanced accuracy, and identifies the Boosting Ensemble algorithm as the best suited algorithm for predicting the occurrence of Ground Stops at EWR and LGA. Further analysis also revealed that model performance is significantly better when using balanced datasets compared to imbalanced datasets.