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The effects of pushback delays on airport ground movement


With the constant increase in air traffic, airports are facing capacity problems. Optimisation methods for specific airport processes are starting to be increasingly utilised by many large airports. However, many processes do happen in parallel, and maximising the potential benefits will require a more complex optimisation model, which can consider multiple processes simultaneously and take into account the detailed complexities of the processes where necessary, rather than using more abstract models. This paper focuses on one of these complexities, which is usually ignored in ground movement planning; showing the importance of the pushback process in the routing process. It investigates whether taking the pushback process into consideration can result in the prediction of delays that would otherwise pass unnoticed. Having an accurate model for the pushback process is important for this and identifying all of the delays that may occur can lead to more accurate and realistic models that can then be used in the decision making process for ground movement operations. After testing two different routing methods with a more detailed pushback process, we found that many of the delays are not predicted if the pushback process is not explicitly modelled. Having a more precise model, with accurate movements of aircraft is very important for any integrated model and will allow ground movement models to be of use in more reliable integrated decision making systems at airports. Minimising these delays can help airports increase their capacity and become more environmentally friendly.


Academic article




  • Christofas Stergianos
  • Jason Atkin
  • Patrick Schittekat
  • Tomas Nordlander
  • Chris Gerada
  • Herve Morva


  • University of Nottingham
  • SINTEF Digital / Mathematics and Cybernetics



Published in

Journal of Applied Operational Research








68 - 79

View this publication at Cristin