Domino goes door-to-door!

AUTHOR: Damir Valput

As an attentive reader of this blog might already know, Domino’s main goal is to collect evidence on how various implementations of mechanisms such as 4D trajectory adjustments (including Dynamic Cost Indexing, DCI), Prioritisation of Flights (such as  User Driven Prioritisation Process (UDPP)) and Flight Arrival Coordination using Extended Arrival Manager (E-AMAN), could impact the relationships between the elements of the ATM system. To obtain a fuller picture, Domino takes into account the passengers’ perspective in addition to the more traditional, flight-centred point of view.

While the focus of Domino lies primarily in the network effects that emerge from observing the gate-to-gate phase of air travel, the Domino team is also keen on understanding better the influence of the studied ATM mechanisms on the overall passenger experience. After all, in Domino we focus on the commercial air travel, and ignoring the passengers' experience in this era of increasing desire for seamless travel experience could be costly (read more about it for example here).

Seamless travelling experience has become an ubiquitous phrase nowadays and it usually understands a travel experience with the absence of disruptions on the whole itinerary from point A to point B, personalised to the travelling needs of each passenger (group). It is a concept of growing importance, especially when placed in the context of the goals of the Flightpath2050 document, produced by The Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe (ACARE). In it, they formulated, among other objectives, a very ambitious goal of 90% of the passengers, travelling inside Europe, executing their door-to-door travel in under 4 hours. On the Image 2 you can observe how time distributions for the total door-to-door travel time differ for two very diverse passenger groups: younger people and families. On average, younger people complete their whole door-to-door journey in 5 hours and 10 minutes, which is 46 minutes shorter than what it takes people who travel with their families. The graph is borrowed from the project Dataset2050, for more information click here!

Network effects (about which you can read more in the previous post on the network centrality metrics) can tell us only so much about passengers' travel experience and how far away are we from the 4 hours door-to-door goal. Domino already incorporates passenger itineraries and will consider how elements in the system are linked among them and could have different degrees of relevance depending if flight-centred or passenger-centred metrics are considered. Flights can propagate reactionary delay through the network but passengers can miss connections too! However, In order to fully integrate the flight perspective and the passenger perspective, Domino will consider going door-to-door! In other words, Domino is going to implement a module that will model passengers' needs and time processes during the door-to-gate and gate-to-door part of the trip as well.

Moreover, other actors in the ATM system (airports, airlines, etc.) could potentially benefit from seeing themselves through the eyes of a passenger and capturing phenomena that emerge from the complex interactions through this shift in perspective. Including the model of the passengers' behaviour during their "out-of-plane experiences" could lead to observing new interesting effects in the air-travel network. How do mechanism studied in Domino influence passengers' door-to-door times? How do the mechanisms affect the criticality of elements in the network from a passenger perspective. Is there any relationship between the time passengers spend on various airport processes and type of the airport characterised by the newly developed centrality metrics? Those are just some of the questions this extension of Domino could help us answer.

Are you interested in what Domino has to tell us about the convoluted relationship between passengers and the rest of ATM actors? Then stay tuned!

All layers come together

Author: Luis Delgado

And everything comes together: the final integration of the three layers has been achieved.

Vista is now able to model the full ATM phases from the strategic planning of flights, schedules and passenger flows to the tactical execution and tracking of individual flights and passenger itineraries, while considering pre-tactical flight plans, ATFM regulations and passengers itineraries generation. The model capabilities allow us to model Current, 2035 and 2050 scenarios with different system evolution (Background factors) and testing selected factors (Foreground factors).

Vista combines different modelling techniques (agent-based modelling, data mining techniques applied to historical data, stochastic modelling, event-driven simulation) to produce a holistic view of the ATM system across the different ATM phases and stakeholders.

Traffic evolution through Europe is captured by the model while key metrics identified and tracked across the different scenarios for different stakeholders (airlines, airports, ANSPs, passengers and environment) for the three ATM layers.

Vista has shown its capabilities not only to assess key metrics for a given scenario but to capture their evolution across the different ATM phases. Vista has extended current classical metrics suggesting and estimating new indicators such as cost of uncertainty.

The close collaboration between universities, research institutes and key stakeholders (ANSPs and airlines) has proven successful on addressing the challenging topic of analysing in a holistic manner the trade-offs that emerge from applying different factors on different stakeholders. Vista has shown how complex interactions can be modelled and captured to assess the full impact of new regulatory and technological changes in the ATM system.

But this is not the end of this exciting adventure: Vista website and the different deliverables produced will remain available, further dissemination of model details and key results will be carried out and do not miss our final deliverable (D5.2 Final Assessment Report) and the report on the final results (D1.2 Final Project Results Report).

Domino: The knock-on effect

AUTHOR: Luis Delgado

The objective of Domino is to analyse the coupling of elements in the ATM system and how changes (for example, by implementing different mechanism) have an impact on the interrelationships between elements. In order to achieve this, Domino will develop a set of tools, a methodology and a platform to assess the coupling of ATM systems from a flight and a passenger perspective.

Different actors in the ATM system might have different views of its elements and their criticality. For this reason, Domino adds the passenger's view to the more classic flight-centred vision.

In Domino, the ATM system is seen as a set of elements that are related to each other by how the different actors (airlines, flights, passengers, airports, etc.) use them. The behaviour of these actors depend on the available rules of the system. These rules are defined, partially, by the mechanisms that are in place. Complexity Science tools will allow us to understand how the elements in the system are interconnected and how these connections change when the system is modified.

Domino will develop an Agent Based Modelling platform to capture the different systems' relations, and it will focus on three mechanism, implemented and deployed with different scope: Dynamic Cost Indexing (DCI), User Driven Prioritisation Process (UDPP) and Extended Arrival Manager (E-AMAN). Domino will provide a view of the effect of deploying solutions in different manners, e.g., harmonised vs. local/independent deployment.

If a piece in the system is knocked which others are going to be affected? Let Domino tell us!

See for more info on the project.

Vista tactical model – Mercury: because passengers matter

Over the next decades, EU mobility is expected to progressively evolve from the gate-to-gate focus currently prevalent in the aviation and ATM industry towards a seamless and efficient door-to-door-orientated vision.  The paradigm shift from gate-to-gate (hence aircraft centered) to door-to-door (passenger-oriented) is present at virtually all strategic research documents and agendas. The paradigm shift is here to stay. From a passenger perspective, which of the following scenarios create more impact?:

  • Scenario A): a 8 minute delay in an aircraft arrival time with no connecting passengers
  • Scenario B): a 5 minute one that prevents a significant number of passengers doing a connection in that airport and subsequently expand their door-to-door trip in more than 10 hours

How can that impact be predicted in terms of time and cost? One of the very first research exercises was the POEM project (SESAR 1- WPE) etc. This project was the original seed of Mercury. Mercury has been afterwards improved, validated and completed in other reseach initiatives for SESAR and European Commission, reaching its current door-to-door status.

What is mercury?

Mercury is a modelling and simulator tool - a framework capable of measuring the performance of the air transport network. It provides a wide range of performance and mobility metrics, capable of describing in detail different air transport scenarios.

Mercury draws on extensive data, drawn from a wide range of industry sources, including airlines, airports and air navigation service providers. Mercury's data models have been demonstrated through over 5 years of research and development, plus industry consultation.

How passenger matter in mercury?

Mercury is the first air transportation network simulator that puts passengers in the centre. Each day of simulation the itineraries of more than 3 million passengers are reproduced. Each passenger has its individual profile, ticket and decisions to make. According to EU regulation 261/2004 passengers are compensated by delay and cancellations. Extended delays, aborted journeys, overnight stays there are all part of the Mercury simulator.

Of course airlines play a major role as well, Mercury incorporates costs models for canonical airline categories. Each of the airline decision of waiting for certain passengers, cancel a flight or even board the passengers and send a ready message even when a ATFCM slot was assigned is taken according to each airline rational cost model.

The secret ingedient: a spice of randomness

There is no way one could develop a simulator like Mercury taking into account every detail in the air transportation system. Some process are just too complex or simply put we do not understand yet. Whilst others are just exogenous factors far beyond the reach of the air transportation system. 

But what if we could use a different approach. In Mercury each day of operations is repeated, introducing small variations representing everyday uncertainty and exogenous factors.

Ultimately, small changes lead to completely different day of operations, delays and cancellations. Just similarly to what happens with some chaotic systems, the sensitivity to the initial conditions allow to explore overall trends and stable status, in some cases called emergence.

Interested in reading further info about Mercury? Click here to visit the website.

Author: Samuel Cristóbal (Innaxis)

VISTA: priorities and building a credible model

Setting priorities and building a credible model

In Vista, capturing the level of development of the ATM system in the 2035 and 2050 horizons is critical, and we need to ensure that the most relevant scenarios for stakeholders are prioritised during the project. A consultation with relevant expert stakeholders has been conducted to help us with these tasks. The consultation focused on obtaining the experts' view on key aspects of the project, namely: identification of potential missing metrics for the different stakeholders; prioritisation of the metrics generated by the model; identification of potentially missing factors and possible values considered for them; ranking of foreground factors (see previous blog) by relevance; ensuring that none of the factors identified as background factors should instead be considered as foreground; prioritisation of background scenarios and identification of the level of maturity of the system for 2035 and 2050 and, finally, understanding which particular results produced by Vista would be of particular interest to experts and stakeholders. The consultation questionnaire comprised twelve detailed questions and was targeted at high-profile experts in the ATM field.

The result of this activity allowed us to prioritise the metrics and scenarios that will be modelled and ensured that we had not missed any relevant source for regulations or technical evolution of the system. A second consultation is planned in order to review the firsts results obtained with the model. With these consultations, Vista maximises its impact on the community, addressing the topics that are relevant to stakeholders and validating the results obtained.

Another strength of Vista is the inclusion of key stakeholders, not just as consultation body, but as core partners in the project. Vista benefits from such partnership with airlines (SWISS, Norwegian and Icelandair), a FABEC ANSP (Belgocontrol) and airport experts (EUROCONTROL). Dedicated site visits have been carried out in Reykjavik, Oslo and Zurich to further understand the airlines' business models, needs and projected system evolution. These visits also allowed the modelling team of Vista to have first-hand access to the strategic, pre-tactical and tactical management of airlines' operations. This access ensures that the model captures the impact of the different factors as closely as possible to reality. Moreover, the airlines' involvement in the project provides crucial data and validation of preliminary results. Similarly, planned meetings in Brussels and London with Belgocontrol and EUROCONTROL will ensure that the vision of ANSPs and airports are properly considered in the model.


Are regulatory and business changes aligned with key ATM objectives? (Introducing the Vista project).


How will different regulatory and business changes affect the KPIs of ATM stakeholders in the 2035 and 2050 horizon? Are the various foreseen changes aligned to obtain improvements in key indicators? Will trade-offs emerge from different policies to be implemented? What is the impact of technology changes on different economic developments?

Vista considers these questions and examines the effects of conflicting market forces on European performance in ATM, through the evaluation of impact metrics on four key stakeholders (airlines, passenger, airports and ANSPs), and the environment. The project comprises a systematic, impact trade-off analysis using classical and complexity metrics, encompassing both fully monetised and quasi-cost impact measures. Vista will model the current, 2035 and 2050 timeframes based on various factors and their potential evolution.

The factors modelled in Vista influence the stakeholders’ choices: prices of commodities and services, regulations from national and supranational entities, and new technologies are all part of a complex socio-economic system that results in evolving business models, passenger choices, etc. These factors are divided between regulatory and business factors. Business factors may affect technology uptake and economic changes. Regulations, on their turn, may act as enablers of the technological and operational changes, e.g., the Single European Sky regulatory framework, or may directly affect the performance of some stakeholders, such as air passenger rights.

The different factors considered have been obtained from a literature review of regulations, projects, technological and operational changes. Concerning the regulations, the different areas of the ATM network and regulations applying to them have been reviewed. Communications and strategies laid down by, or foreseen by, regulatory trends have been used to identify the possible evolution of these regulations. The main source for the business factors are the SESAR projects, in particular, the high-level goals of SESAR described in its Master Plan (Ed. 2015), as well as more precise information related to the SESAR workpackages. The expected impacts of operational sub-packages in SESAR will be used to identify the impact of these on the evolution of KPIs. Some more long-term R&D research activities are also considered, in particular to be used in the 2050 scenarios of Vista. Other business factors include the price of fuel, the business models of the airlines, and changes in demand linked to the socio-economic development of Europe. Regarding the latter, many factors will be considered as closely linked and the diverse possibilities of development will be significantly influenced by outputs such as the STATFOR forecasts.


In the Vista model, regulatory and business factors are classified between foreground and background factors. Background factors are grouped to generate background scenarios onto which the foreground factors will be tested. These background scenarios, identified below, define different possible evolutions for the 2035 and 2050 horizons and have been defined to identify the impact of the technology on different economic development scenarios.

Period Name Technology development Economic development
Current Current Current Current
2035 L35: Low economic, Low Techno Trajectory-based performance as defined in SESAR Low economic development
M35: High economic, Low Techno Medium economic development
H35: High economic, High Techno Performance-based performance as defined in SESAR
2050 L50: Low economic, Low Techno
M50: High economic, Low Techno High economic development with an increment on environmental-friendly passengers
H50: High economic, High Techno Enhanced performance-based performances as defined in SESAR

Examples of foreground factors, the impact of which will be individually assessed, include: regulatory changes on passenger provision schemes, fuel charges, or the introduction of smart ticketing. Foreground factors can also be grouped in higher-level categories to identify the impact of different policies on the scenarios: environmental mitigation policies (e.g., emission scheme and noise pollution regulation), regional infrastructure usage (e.g., airport access, regional infrastructure development), passenger focus modifications (e.g., passenger provision schemes and reacommodation tools) and Single European Sky (e.g., 4D trajectory management, traffic synchronisation, airspace charges). The qualitative impact of the factors, both foreground and background, on each part of the model has been identified.


Vista will necessarily model all ATM phases: strategic, pre-tactical and tactical. Factors will have different impacts on these time scales. The Vista model has been created following these temporal layers. A scenario, defined as an instantiation of foreground and background factors, will be executed by the model. The strategic layer, will use an economic model to balance the strategic demand and capacity of the different elements in the ATM network and schedules will be provided to the pre-tactical layer. The pre-tactical layer will generate flight plans, passenger itineraries and ATFM regulations. These flights and passenger itineraries will be executed tactically using the Mercury model . Mercury model has been developed on previous projects (POEM , ComplexityCosts) and allow the simulation of flights and passengers itineraries obtaining not only traditional flight-centric metric but also passengers focus ones. See our next blog (August) for more information regarding Vista tactical layer. Being a stochastic model the output of the different layers will be consolidated to analyse the results and understand the horizontal and vertical trade-offs identified. Finally, a learning loop will be used to give feedback to the strategic layer on the metrics obtained and, based on the initial expectations of the model, to adjust strategic behaviour. This will ensure that, after several iterations, a stable and realistic realisation of the scenario is obtained.

In order to capture the impact of the different factors on the model and the evolution of the system, dedicated site visits and consultation with experts have been performed (see next blog entry for more details). The Vista approach and methodology was been presented at the 2017 World ATM Congress (7-9 March 2017, Madrid) and at the 2017 ART Workshop (26 April 2017, London).

ComplexWorld: Linking Complexity and Data Science in ATM


This year we celebrated the 5th anniversary of ComplexWorld. As we reflect over the years to 2011, when Innaxis first launched the network, it’s easy to find many reasons to feel proud and grateful of our partners and participants of the network. ComplexWorld emerged from the idea of applying complexity science techniques to better understand the Air Traffic Management behaviour and the relationships among its different agents. At the network’s inception, it was considered a new and unfamiliar concept, but promising nonetheless. Now the concept has become a reality, after fruitful 5 years of ComplexWorld network development, along with 8 PhDs and 10 projects. The number of references in the field has increased significantly since 2011. To illustrate, the first graph below shows the growth of the number of papers published including the text “air transport” and “complex networks” since 2005. The second graph represents the number of those papers corresponding citations. (Data source: Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science)



In order to provide some direction to the purpose of the ComplexWorld network and specifically, the analysis of the air transport network as a complex system, the ComplexWorld partners Innaxis, University of Seville, University of Westminster, University of Palermo, along with NLR and DLR, identified 5 research challenges in which complexity science could provide a completely new perspective and deeper understanding of system performance. Those challenges include: resilience, metrics, emergent behaviour, data science and uncertainty, which have been our research pillars for the ComplexWorld network; enabling significant progress in those fields, previously insignificantly addressed by traditional and classical models. This the nexus of complexity science and air traffic management has garnered so much attention that soon a book will be released for the public, published under the title, “Complexity Science in air traffic management”. If you cannot wait to have it on your hands, you are in luck! The book is now available on Amazon.

Through the evolution of research within these five pillars, a key insight emerged that drove a conviction: data science was not merely one of the five pillars, but rather the key pillar that would foster the most significant and efficient progress within the other four areas. However, the aviation sector was not fully prepared to move forward quickly with the application of data science techniques as challenges related to data confidentiality, data sharing, and lack of appropriate data management infrastructures presented barriers for advancement. Therefore, with the objective of eliminating or reducing these barriers, in 2013 ComplexWorld organized the first Data Science in Aviation Workshop (DSIAW). The aim was to bring together aviation stakeholders willing to extract knowledge from their available data, with data scientists and experts from other sectors assisting by demonstrating the potential of data science with real examples of ongoing initiatives and recent work. The event was a complete success in terms of invited speaker expertise, but more importantly, the event was outstanding in terms of audience engagement, so much so that DSIAW has became an annual workshop thanks to the support of Eurocontrol and the SJU.

Year after year we have enthusiastically worked to bring relevant experts together to present their work on the application of data science techniques to enable an improvement on their business performance. Furthermore, we feel this sector is moving in the right direction as we see the number of success cases in this sector grow significantly. This year, we are organizing the 4th edition of the DSIAW, which will be celebrated September 8th and 9th at EASA HQ in Cologne. The workshop will be opened by Mr. Luc Tytgat, EASA Strategy and Safety Management Director, and will include presentations about different data science applications, including:

  • Air navigation (UK NATS and Eurocontrol-MUAC),
  • Aviation safety (Innaxis and AESA – Spanish Aviation Safety Agency),
  • Mobility (Boeing and Innaxis)
  • Infrastructure and visualization (Fraunhofer ITWM and ENAC)

Registration is now open so you are invited to join us and participate in the debates. At DSIAW you will also have the opportunity of attending the presentation of the “Complexity Challenges” report, a report in which we have developed in the framework of SESAR Exploratory Research along with 18 external experts who have provided their assessment on how the complexity challenges have been addressed by the different ComplexWorld related activities within these last five years, and the existing gaps and opportunities for future research in the field. We highly encourage you to attend this 1.5 days event and to be an active part of the definition of future research lines in the field of complexity in air transport. If you cannot attend, videos of the event will be uploaded to our vimeo channel and wiki, where you will catch some of the unprecedented conversations and become an active participant in the dialogues.



SecureDataCloud – applying secure computation to ATM data

The achievement of an efficient information sharing and coordination between the different stakeholders involved in air transport and ATM is nowadays considered one of the most important priorities in aviation, with potential benefits ranging from improved safety and reduced delays, to more environmental-friendly operations. In spite of its support as a priority, the management of the different types of information is at present separated between organisations, divisions and various stakeholders and mostly isolated and with little cross-integration, due to organisational and institutional barriers that prevent the timely and free-flow of relevant data.

A new research project, called SecureDataCloud and coordinated by Innaxis, aims to solve this problem by means of secure computation techniques. Secure computation is the field of cryptology devoted to the study of performing a computation while preserving the privacy of the inputs of the proprietary parties. Nowadays, there are several problems tackled using a secure computation approach, with applications spanning from secure sealed-bid auctions, elections with an electronic voting scheme and stock transactions, through to defense applications in military operations.

More information about the projects, partners, publications, and results obtained can be found on the project’s website,





Innaxis brings together leading experts for Data Science in Aviation workshop


Nearly 60 industry experts, academics and professionals from the fields of data science and aviation gathered in Madrid on October the 15th to attend the first ComplexWorld Network’s workshop, ‘Data Science in Aviation‘.  The workshop provided the opportunity for experts in the field to  discuss ways knowledge from aviation data could be extracted in order to enhance our understanding of the air transport system’s behaviour and the complex relation among its elements.

The workshop was motivated by the challenge of extracting ground breaking insights from the large quantities of data collected in the air transport network. The aviation sector gathers and stores a large amount of unstructured, heterogeneous data – safety data and reports, flight plans, navigation data, airport data, radar tracks – from multiple sources – airlines, ANSPs and airports. While the collection of information through different data sensors is growing exponentially, the application of data science to the data has not.  The workshop looked at how to capture the new opportunities offered by the data and close the large opportunity gap between the potential offered and the current outcomes of its analysis.

Innaxis as coordinator of the ComplexWorld Network, through which the workshop was supported, led the data science in aviation workshop initiative. Innaxis brought extensive IT expertise and experience in data-science analysis techniques to the workshop. Innaxis’s expertise in these areas has been developed through the various research programmes in which it works and through its exposure to different data science applications in a variety of fields.

The outcomes of the workshop will be made available shortly. It is our hope that these outcomes, which include new research ideas and discussions from this dynamic meeting of experts, will result in greater discussion and debate around the topic from the community as a whole. So please keep in touch and check back if you’d like to be involved in the ongoing development in this area.

Innaxis presents paper on new approach to safety at the USA and Europe ATM R&D Seminar

Safety is a critical aspect of air traffic management and it receives significant attention from the research community. This criticality leads to lower innovation in different safety aspects, ensuring that only well-known and established procedures and technologies are applied. In this context, new ways to innovate in safety assessment techniques could not only provoke a significant change in the safety levels but also enable technologies and procedures through easier and more straightforward safety analysis.

Innaxis is a firm believer in the potential of complex networks analysis and the power of Data Science techniques. We will present the paper Synchronization Likelihood in Aircraft Trajectories in the next USA/Europe Air Traffic Management R&D Seminar, held from June 10 to 13, 2013 in Chicago. We strongly believe these techniques will set the foundation for new ways of analysing safety levels in different contexts; from providing new techniques and correctly evaluating the safety levels of large airspace blocks to the actual development of predictive analytics that would assist in the implementation of new automation technologies.

Please attend Massimiliano Zanin’s presentation of his paper if you are attending the Seminar and do not hesitate to contact him if this area is of interest to you. Massimiliano is reachable on


The Federal Aviation Administration and the EUROCONTROL Organization will host the Tenth USA/Europe Seminar on ATM R&D June 10-13, 2013 in Chicago, IL, USA.

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