Modelling delay propagation trees for scheduled flights

Bruno Campanelli1, Carla Ciruelos2, Andrés Arranz2, Izaro Etxebarria2, Sara Peces2, Pablo Fleurquin1,3, Victor M. Eguiluz1 and José J. Ramasco1
1Instituto de Física Interdisciplinar y Sistemas Complejos IFISC (CSIC-UIB), Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
2Transport and ICT Directorate, Ingeniería de Sistemas para la Defensa de España, S.A. (ISDEFE),Madrid, Spain.
3Innaxis Foundation and Research Institute, José Ortega y Gasset 20, 28006 Madrid, Spain.

(June 2015)

Reactionary delays have a large impact in the air transportation system both at operational and economical point of view. However, research efforts to understand their origin and propagation patterns in Europe have been limited. The TREE project (data-driven modeling of network-wide extension of the tree of reactionary delays in ECAC area) is focused on characterizing and forecasting the propagation of reactionary delays through the European Network. The best approach to tackle this problem passes through the use of Complex Systems theory. This theory analyzes systems formed by a large number of components interacting between them by means of networks and attempts at predicting their meso-scale and global behaviors. In this model, airports are taken as nodes and links between them are created by direct flights, with delays appearing as malfunctions in the daily planned schedule that can and do propagate over an important fraction of the network. An agentbased, data-driven approach is introduced, able to simulate the delay propagation process. The first results show a promising similarity with the real delay propagation patterns, being able to describe the cluster of congested airports and its evolution along the day.