Air delay propagation patterns in Europe from 2015 to 2018: an information processing perspective

Pastorino, Luisina; Zanin, Massimiliano
J. Phys. Complex. 3, 015001 (2022)

The characterisation of delay propagation is one of the major topics of research in air transport management, due to its negative effects on the cost-efficiency, safety and environmental impact of this transportation mode. While most research works have naturally framed it as a transportation process, the successful application of network theory in neuroscience suggests a complementary approach, based on describing delay propagation as a form of information processing. This allows reconstructing propagation patterns from the dynamics of the individual elements, i.e. from the evolution observed at individual airports, without the need of additional a priori information. We here apply this framework to the analysis of delay propagation in the European airspace between 2015 and 2018, describe the evolution of the observed structure, and identify the role of individual airports in it. We further use this analysis to illustrate the limitations and challenges associated to this approach, and to sketch a roadmap of future research in this evolving topic.

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