Mathematical Model Mimics Operations

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How it all works seems pretty esoteric to the uninitiated so DeLaurentis tried to bring it down to a level mere mortals can understand. "You can almost think of it as a video game where the service providers are adding flights and subtracting flights and doing the best they can to satisfy changing demand, and the FAA is trying to catch up and add the capacity necessary to meet the needs of the airlines," DeLaurentis said. "One of the findings was that if the infrastructure providers were not able to keep pace with demand, the service providers would stagnate. They would be unable to add the flights that they needed. Yet, such agility or responsiveness is critical." Something else the study found will not come as much of a surprise. The researchers found that the FAA and its customers are not usually on the same wavelength when it comes to planning and preparation. The agency may be thinking ten years ahead while an airline is plotting decisions that can have operational consequences only a few months down the road. "A more agile system would have a closer connection between the two time scales," DeLaurentis said.