The Exploratory Research initiative launched by SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) Joint undertaking under the umbrella of the Horizon 2020 Research Framework Programme lays out the main long-term research challenges facing the future European Air Traffic Management (ATM) system. One of the main research topics identified by this initiative is the need to explore new air traffic efficiency metrics that take into account the airspace users’ objectives.

The AURORA (Advanced User-centric efficiency metRics for air traffic perfORmance Analytics) project will propose new metrics to assess the operational efficiency of the ATM system. These new metrics will be developed with the aim of encapsulating the airspace users’ operational objectives, considering fuel consumption, schedule adherence and cost efficiency of the flights. User-preferred trajectories will be defined as references for performance analysis purposes.

AURORA will also propose metrics to measure how fairly the inefficiencies in the system are distributed among the different airspace users. These metrics will serve to quantify the differences in the inefficiencies experienced by the different airspace users in a given operational context.

This project will also explore and test techniques borrowed from the data science and information management fields for the collection and aggregation of data. These techniques will allow AURORA to propose a new framework for ATM decision-making based on real-time performance monitoring. In this new framework, the ATM decision-making processes will be supported by live indicators of actual operational performance and realistic achievable targets, where the airspace users could take an active role.

AURORA will validate all these advanced user-centric efficiency metrics at European and local level by comparing them with today’s Flight Efficiency indicator used by the Performance Review Commission (PRC).