Markov-modulated model for landing flow dynamics: An ordinal analysis validation

Olivares, Felipe; Zunino, Luciano; Zanin, Massimiliano
Chaos: an interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science 33, 033142(1-12) (2023)

Air transportation is a complex system characterized by a plethora of interactions at multiple temporal and spatial scales; as a consequence, even simple dynamics like sequencing aircraft for landing can lead to the appearance of emergent behaviors, which are both difficult to control and detrimental to operational efficiency. We propose a model, based on a modulated Markov jitter, to represent ordinal pattern properties of real landing operations in European airports. The parameters of the model are tuned by minimizing the distance between the probability distributions of ordinal patterns generated by the real and synthetic sequences, as estimated by the Permutation Jensen–Shannon Distance. We show that the correlation between consecutive hours in the landing flow changes between airports and that it can be interpreted as a metric of efficiency. We further compare the dynamics pre and post COVID-19, showing how this has changed beyond what can be attributed to a simple reduction of traffic. We finally draw some operational conclusions and discuss the applicability of these findings in a real operational environment.

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