Saab’s Aerobahn Departure Manager Assists in San Francisco International Airport Meeting Efficiency Goals During Runway Construction

Defense and security company Saab announced that its Aerobahn Departure Manager (DMAN) successfully helped San Francisco International Airport (SFO) proactively manage the recent closure of its runways. During the four-month period, DMAN provided departure management and sequencing of aircraft to reduce aircraft taxi times, fuel burn and emissions. As the system selected by construction manager Parsons Brinckerhoff for the Collaborative Decision making (CDM) team at San Francisco, Aerobahn helped achieve operational performance objectives and improved the predictability of operations.

Analysis conducted by Saab on SFO surface traffic data during the closure indicates that use of the DMAN solution and associated procedures reduced operating costs by $8.3M and emissions by 7,180 metric tons during the construction period. Coordination of off-block times to match runway capacity during peak demand resulted in an average departure metering delay of 7.7 minutes. By providing recommended off-block times to the airlines, taxi out times were nearly three minutes lower than predicted.

A number of procedures were put in place to manage operations during the runway closure, including use of Saab’s DMAN solution by SFO stakeholders to dynamically manage flight departure times. The DMAN allows airlines to make decisions about flight priorities and preferences in order to minimize the impact of departure delays.

“SFO was able to avoid lengthy delays and maintain a predictable schedule for airlines and customers due to the entire airport community working together,” said Doug Yakel, public information officer, San Francisco International Airport. “This airport-wide collaboration saw the airlines, airport entities and the FAA identify a strong plan to manage the runway closure and put in place the tools and procedures needed to efficiently conduct operations with minimal disruption to passengers.”

Built on the Aerobahn airport surface management platform, the Aerobahn DMAN provides airline and terminal operators with automated flight metering assignments based on airline schedules and departure rates as determined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Using a number of data sources, DMAN allocates to each flight a recommended push back time and associated movement area transition spot time to coordinate the introduction of flights to the movement area controlled by the FAA. Each airline or terminal operator retains control over which flights are assigned to their allocations to meet their individual operational goals. At SFO, Saab also managed and staffed a Departure Metering Coordination Center through its partner, Robinson Aviation, Inc., to continually manage requests from airlines/terminal operators as needs arose.

“San Francisco was able to achieve significant operational cost savings in excess of what we modeled before the project started,” said Ken Kaminski, general manager of Saab ATM. “Saab’s Aerobahn DMAN has proven that the system, when used in a collaborative, transparent operating environment like SFO or JFK, can increase efficiencies and reduce operating costs.”

The Aerobahn Product Suite (Surface Manager, Departure Manager, Airport Status Dashboard and De-icing Manager) is improving the efficiency and collaboration of airport authorities, airlines and air navigation service providers. It is the industry’s most widely-deployed airport operations management system, currently in use at 26 airports world-wide, including seven of the 10 busiest airports in the U.S., by movements (Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago O’Hare, Denver, Houston, Philadelphia and Phoenix International Airports).


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