SANDPIT: Integrating and Automating Airport Operations

Lead Research Organisation: University of Stirling
Department Name: Computing Science and Mathematics


This project emerged from the Research Councils' Energy Programme Sandpit in Airport Operations held at Shrigley Hall, Cheshire between 10-14 November 2008. It represents a wide ranging multi-disciplinary and cross-institutional initiative to exploit recent research advances in automated search methodologies and decision support techniques for air operations (and other related areas). This project will open up a range of exciting and ambitious research directions in the crucially important area of airport operations. The proposed programme of research will build integrated computational models of four key airport operations: Take-off scheduling, Landing Scheduling, Gate Assignment and Baggage flow. The project will explore how to build computational models that represent the integration of these problems and it will explore how to develop effective multi-objective search methodologies which will employ the models. At the moment, these operations are addressed in an isolated (and often manual) way. The ultimate goal is to develop innovative search methodologies which are able to operate from a global perspective in order to provide airport operators with a much higher level of computer aided decision support than is available today. Integrating these four operations and exploring new and exciting ways of generating high quality solutions to the integrated problem is the broad basic aim of the proposal. We will work closely with colleagues at Manchester and Zurich airports to ensure that we have continuous access to real world expertise and data. The proposal brings together a balanced inter-disciplinary team of scientists and engineers to investigate a series of novel research challenges with the overall goal of underpinning the development of tomorrow's airport operations decision support systems.


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Description This project has led to important advances in modelling and computational search methodologies for airport operations
Exploitation Route The work undertaken on this project has laid the foundations of ongoing work into real world airport operations.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine

Description Mathematical models and algorithms for allocating scarce airport resources (OR-MASTER)
Amount £2,262,469 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/M020258/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2015 
End 09/2021
Description Manchester Airport 
Organisation Manchester Airport Plc
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Advice
Collaborator Contribution Advice and Data
Impact See publication list
Start Year 2009
Description Zurich Airport 
Organisation Zurich Airport
Country Switzerland 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Advice
Collaborator Contribution Advice and Data
Impact See publications list
Start Year 2009