Do fewer flights mean your efficiency increases or decreases?


A Covid-19 aviation recovery solution

Key questions:

  • Do fewer flights mean your efficiency increases or decreases?
  • Is there concern that overall performance is reducing because traffic levels are low?
  • Is maintaining On Time Performance and efficiency still important?

We work in collaboration with airports to provide insight into how changes can improve aircraft efficiency and key performance indicators such as On Time Performance.


Operational Performance Summary

Maintaining operational performance during-COVID is as important as ever. Keeping a strong focus on performance means that airports can gain the most value from the available assets; if not, there’s a risk that any sub-optimal performance becomes the new normal, reducing your efficiency, costing more to deliver less while restricting growth to a level below the pre-COVID-19 capacity.

An Operational Performance Summary provides you with a powerful and easy to understand view of current airfield performance at a glance.

How can it help recovery?

When airports are busy, traffic levels drive everyone to be fully focussed on operating to plan and On Time Performance. However, without the ‘pressure’ in the system due to the current traffic downturn, there is evidence that this can result in a reduction in overall performance. For example, there may be inconsistency in the spacing of aircraft on final approach, or runway occupancy times may increase. Some of these may go unnoticed but will ultimately contribute to the airport operating below potential and hindering the path to full recovery and future growth

During the recovery phase, an Operational Performance Summary will help you understand how you are operating today and answer key questions like:

  • Are aircraft being delivered as efficiently as before? E.g. arrival and departure separations.
  • Are ATC and pilots performing (including consistency of delivery) as well as they could?
  • Have there been any changes to infrastructure that are causing inefficiencies or congestion e.g. bottlenecks in certain areas resulting in additional fuel burn?
  • What improvements can be undertaken to improve these?


How can this benefit airports?

As an airport you can use this data to:

  • Engage with stakeholders. By identifying areas of best practice to drive performance or set targets for improvements. This helps demonstrate the viability and fluidity of the airport with airlines, which can result in faster recovery of income.
  • Improve recovery times. Through maintaining flight efficiencies, airlines can work to an adapted schedule to ensure consistent resourcing.
  • Drive cost-benefit recovery programmes. When combined with Fast-Time Simulation, an Operational Performance Summary can drive “what-if” modelling to demonstrate the impacts of re-opening runways, taxiways, stands or terminals.
  • Enhance performance-related changes. Information can be used to develop metrics that model a range of scenarios on how to improve airport performance during the recovery phase and beyond.

How an Operational Performance Summary can help in a mixed mode operation

NATS recently completed an Operational Performance Summary at an airport which operates a single runway, in mixed mode. One of the many metrics measured was runway occupancy time which allowed NATS to calculate the “Service Rate” of the runway. The service rate is the theoretical number of movements that can be handled in an hour and is an indicative calculation based on average aircraft performance on the runway.

What this showed was that the current spacing between an arriving aircraft, a departure and the next arriving aircraft resulted in a period of “spare” runway time, This spare time means the runway or the ATM system isn’t being used efficiently which may result in late arrivals or unnecessary delays to departures. In short it was directly contributing to the airport not operating to plan; but if this spare time could be reduced or eliminated, this simple efficiency will drive an improved On Time Performance.

Aside from improving individual performance this will also assist with the elimination of excessive fuel burn for airlines.

Whilst traffic levels are quieter, by maintaining an efficient operation at the airport, delays in the network are less likely to occur resulting in less holding, lower fuel burn and less risk to achieving On Time Performance. Furthermore, the decisions on when to reopen assets can be further informed and backed up through the use of data.

Contact us

If you would like to explore together with our team how this can benefit your airport, please contact us:

  • By completing this form, you are consenting to NATS holding your personal information. For further details on how NATS manages your personal information please see our privacy notice.

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