In Air Traffic Management (ATM), control room supervisors (SV) monitors the upcoming air traffic load using the EUROCONTROL NM CHMI software and/or other similar tools.
The main “metrics” to evaluate the traffic load and is commonly expressed as Entry Counts (EC) over a period (most often Hourly Entry Counts - HEC) - or Occupancy Counts (OCC). These metrics all represents a different way to count aircraft within a sector or traffic volume (TV).
This last metric, i.e. OCC, is today of particular interest to the supervisors or Flow Manager Positions (FMPs), as assumed to better reflect the ATCO workload as EC or HEC and be more precise with a time step every minute.
Nevertheless, when using Occupancy, a “duration” variable shall be defined by the user. This duration, e.g. 1, 10 or 15 minutes, corresponds to the time window during which aircraft entering or being a sector are counted.
This variable has a significant impact on the counts calculated over time and how decisions are made to split or merge TVs by the supervisors or Flow Manager Positions (FMPs).
Therefore, this variable has a critical importance for the implementation of concepts such as Dynamic Airspace Sectorisation
It has been found that no consensus exists amongst Air Traffic Control Centers and their supervisors on which duration is the best in operations. Nevertheless, most differences among the supervisors seem rather based on intuition and personal feeling than on hard facts.
For this purpose, airsecoma was tasked to determine based on a quantitative analysis which duration is the most suitable to take decisions in operations.