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Project Experience: Philadelphia International Airport, Pennsylvania

The Challenge

The Philadelphia International Airport needed a capacity study, aimed at helping the FAA, as well as the airport, shape a plan to relieve delays and congestion. The overall objective was to increase efficiency and maintain safety, while limiting the impact on residents of adjacent areas as part of an EIS effort. The FAA’s plan was to provide a three-alternative approach to airport evolution --adding one parallel runway, moving the main terminal buildings to two different locations, or transforming the complete airfield into a four parallel runway operation.

The Strategy

HMMH provided airfield and airspace simulation services by using the Total Airspace and Airport Modeler (TAAM) to perform a capacity study. To study the operational impacts of the FAA plan, we simulated ground movements and TRACON airspace by:

  • Evaluating baseline airport and airspace infrastructure reflecting two VFR configurations and one IFR configuration
  • Developing alternative configurations for two VFR and one IFR airport and airspace infrastructures based on proposed runway configurations
  • Formulating rule bases for ground and airspace movements, using 24-hour traffic timetables
  • Modeling a total of 66 simulation runs for 2020 and 2025 as well as interim construction years for airfield performance and benefit/cost analysis purposes

Metrics generated for the analyses included Runway Crossing Delay, Ground Delay, Gate Delay, Airborne Delay, and Total Operating Time. To ensure accuracy of the model and metrics, HMMH also coordinated closely with FAA Air Traffic Controllers.