Air Transport World

Taking the bite out of irregular ops: US airlines and airports have new tools to manage irregular operations better. (Information Technology).

Everyone knows that irregular operations cost airlines money. There are direct operating costs. There are lost revenue opportunities and passenger costs; travelers who miss connections may require rebooking on other airlines' flights, while long delays or diversions might require the provision of meal vouchers or overnight accommodations. There are indirect costs, such as loss of pilot productivity or the need to bring in a new crew when the original crew's time expires.

"Unmet aircraft"--those that arrive at a gate with no agents or ground crew--run up more costs. Airplanes sit on the tarmac running on auxiliary power units and passengers miss connections. And the cost of bad hold/no-hold decisions adds up as well.

Airlines may not be able to control all of the causes of irregular ops, but better information can enable them to minimize the damage. Information, however, often is in short supply when it is needed most.

Megadata, an aviation software company in Bohemia, N.Y., has sought to speed up the flow and give airlines tools to keep their day-to-day operations routine. The heart of its efforts is the Passur (passive secondary surveillance radar) system. Passur "listens in" on interrogations from the airport surveillance radar and responses from aircraft transponders. It overlays the information with algorithms and software tools that provide a high-resolution graphical view of an airport's airspace within a radius of 150-300 mi. that is updated every 4.5 sec.

"Passur has filled in the information void for airlines that have aircraft transiting from the en route phase to the landing phase, when the crew engages only in essential communication," says Peter Getlett, manager of Delta Air Lines' airport coordination center at New York JFK. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.