A lot of activities are involved in ensuring smooth operations in an airport. Most of these depend on the daily flight schedules, and planning stands and gates is no exception. On a daily basis, airport planners assign parking stands and gates to aircraft based on a number of operational constraints. To cope with conflicts caused by constant changes in actual operations planners need a real-time decision support system.
The PDC StandPlan system integrates stand and gate allocations with updated flight information to ensure the best working conditions for airport resource planners. Combining automation with human intervention and adjustments helps the planners to provide optimized utilization of stands and gates.
PDC StandPlan provides support tools for optimized utilization of stands and gates in an airport. Flights are automatically paired into ground stops, i.e. arriving flights will be paired with departing flights if the aircraft registration is the same for both flights. Pairing flights into ground stops can also be done manually. Once a ground stop is made, a stand and/or gate can be allocated for it.
Stand and gate resources are allocated based on real-time data for flights in and out of the airport. A large amount of the allocations can be done automatically, and with a small manual effort a complete stand and gate plan may be finished within minutes.
All allocations, both manual and automatic, will be checked for validity against a comprehensive rule set, customized to fit the needs of a given airport. When rules are violated alerts are presented in a user-friendly way stating the origin of the problem and suggesting solutions to mitigate it. All alerts are shown in an alert list until handled. Each rule has a given severity, and they may be broken in the order of this, i.e. the system will seek a solution breaking rules with low severity before breaking rules with high severity.
Gantt charts show the ground stops and the stand and gate allocations to provide good surveys of the actual stand and gate plans. The period of time shown in the Gantt charts can be set by the planner, and it may stretch for several days. When allocating stands and gates manually the user drags and drops ground stops, stand allocations, and gate allocations between Gantt charts.
All information related to a given ground stop is easily available at anytime by simply hovering the mouse over the ground stop in the Gantt chart. The information shown in the Gantt charts can be modified at any time to serve the planner's needs. Always up-to-date Information When changes to flights are committed to an Air Operations Database (AODB) the Gantt charts in PDC StandPlan are updated live to reflect the changes. This ensures always updated data and prevents redundancy. When a planner commits changes to the stand and gate plans they are immediately shared with concurrent PDC StandPlan planners.
When a planning session is completed for a specified period of time it is published to a database from where it is available for other applications. Once a session has been published all changes to stands and gates within that published period will be available with no delay. Thus, applications depending on the PDC StandPlan database will always use up-to-date information.
From an existing stand plan the planner may construct a template plan. The template plan is used to automatically rollout stand allocations when similar traffic pattern occurs, e.g. the day after or a week later. It is possible to make a large number of template plans to choose from, e.g. to cover the most common patterns for every season.
Efficient simulation facilities enable multiple what-if scenarios to be examined before making changes to the actual schedule. When in simulation mode all actions will apparently have the same effect as in non-simulation mode, with the difference that they are not committed to the real data. Simulations may be saved for later use. The planner may later resume a simulation, or the simulation can be shared between planners. When a planner applies the simulation to the allocation plans, all actions, if possible, will be carried out on live data.