Probabilistic Strategic Conflict-Management for 4D Trajectories in Free-Route Airspace

Entropy (Basel). 2020 Jan 30;22(2):159. doi: 10.3390/e22020159.


The expected growth of air traffic in the following decades demands the implementation of new operational concepts to avoid current limitations of the air traffic management system. This paper focuses on the strategic conflict management for four-dimensional trajectories (4DT) in free-route airspace. 4DT has been proposed as the future operational concept to manage air traffic. Thus, aircraft must fulfil temporary restrictions at specific waypoints in the airspace based on time windows. Based on the temporary restrictions, a strategic conflict management method is proposed to calculate the conflict probability of an aircraft pair (that intersects in the air) and to calculate temporary-blocking windows that quantify the time span at which an aircraft cannot depart because one conflict could occur. This methodology was applied in a case-study for an aircraft pair, including the uncertainty associated with 4DT. Moreover, a sensitivity analysis was performed to characterise the impact of wind conditions and speed control on the temporary-blocking windows. The results concluded that it is feasible to propose 4DT strategic de-confliction based on temporary-blocking windows. Although, uncertainty variables such as wind and speed control impact on the conflict probability and the size of the temporary-blocking windows.

Keywords: 4D trajectories; conflict detection; conflict probability; free-route airspace; strategic conflict management; temporary-blocking windows.