Schmidt, M., Nguyen, P., and Hornung, M., "Novel Aircraft Ground Operation Concepts Based on Clustering of Interfaces," SAE Technical Paper 2015-01-2401, 2015, doi:10.4271/2015-01-2401.
The projected uptick in world passenger traffic challenges the involved stakeholders to optimise the current aviation system and to find new solutions being able to cope with this trend. Since especially large hub airports are congested, operate at their capacity limit and further extensions are difficult to realise. Delays due to late arrival of aircraft or less predictable ground operation processes disrupt the airport operations in a serious way. Various concepts improving the current turnaround processes have been presented thus far, whereby radical aircraft design changes have little chances for realisation in the short term. By maintaining the established overall aircraft configuration, the concepts promote higher probability to become commercially available for aircraft manufactures and operators. Based on a clustering of aircraft interfaces, such as doors and service panels, for state-of-the-art passenger aircraft, concepts targeting to reduce the required resources and time are presented. First studies show that relocating and installing wider passenger doors allow shortening the passenger egress and ingress process by up to 55% compared to current short-to-medium haul aircraft. From a cabin layout point of view, a merger of two galleys and spatial separation from the cabin entrance area would enable a parallelisation of de-/boarding and catering operations which save up time to 20%. The implementation of these single improvements radically shortens the average turnaround time by almost 55% for a full-service carrier and 32% for a low-cost carrier scenario. Furthermore, weight penalties due to additional installed aircraft systems are translated into block fuel deltas of around +0.3% on a 500 nm (926 km) trip. The presented concepts promote a large improvement potential to turnaround time with minor-to-moderate aircraft modifications as well as a higher level of process robustness and thus have the potential to increase airline revenues.