Air transportation is a vital enabler of growth in the economy and quality of life, connecting urban areas over longer distances, and empowering trade and tourism. At the same time, its large and still growing scale generates undesirable effects, such as air traffic delays and environmental impacts at the local, regional, and global level. Emerging from the Institute for Aviation and the Environment at the University of Cambridge, the Air Transportation Systems Laboratory at University College London (UCL) explores the interaction between air transportation, the economy, and the environment.
Our work is data-driven, using physical science, econometric, and operations research-based methods. The integrating mechanism has been the Aviation Integrated Model (AIM), a unique tool, consisting of interlinked modules simulating current and future levels of global airport-to-airport demand, flight schedules, arrival delay, technology uptake, aircraft performance, local and global emissions, aircraft noise, and the related environmental costs and economic benefits under a wide range of policy conditions.
More recently, our work has focused on the local and global implications of airport capacity expansions, the introduction of disruptive technology, and regional and global ambitions towards a zero-climate impact aviation system. Anticipating the propagating impacts of such interventions requires novel, higher-resolution modelling approaches. Our Airline Behaviour Model simulates the profit-maximising behaviour of competing air carriers through adjusting segment flight frequencies, itinerary airfares, and aircraft deployment within their respective network. We are currently expanding this one-of-a-kind model to a global scale.
We strive to make our research as transparent as possible. We publish open-access where possible in leading international peer-reviewed journals. We also make available the open-source code of our Aviation Integrated Model. In addition to in-house research, we have been collaborating on research projects with univerisities in the UK (Cranfield University, Imperial College London, University of Cambridge, University of Southampton) and abroad (École Nationale de l’Aviation Civile, GeorgiaTech, ETH Zurich, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), along with US federally funded research centers (MIT Lincoln Laboratory and NASA Ames). Our primary funding comes from the UK Research Councils, the European Commission and the air transportation industry.
ATSlab participation at IATA Aviation Energy Forum
On 16 May 2023, Prof. Andreas W. Schäfer gave a plenary talk at the IATA Aviation Energy Forum in Seattle, USA. His talk, titled "Energy Requirements for the Energy Transition" included recent ATSlab modelling outcomes on the energy infrastructure implications of...