The SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) program is an ambitious research and development initiative to design the future European air traffic management (ATM) system. The study of the behavior of ATM systems using agent-based modeling and simulation tools can help the development of new methods to improve their performance. This paper presents an overview of existing agent-based approaches in air transportation (paying special attention to the challenges that exist for the design of future ATM systems) and, subsequently, describes a new agent-based approach that we proposed in the CASSIOPEIA project, which was developed according to the goals of the SESAR program. In our approach, we use agent models for different ATM stakeholders, and, in contrast to previous work, our solution models new collaborative decision processes for flow traffic management, it uses an intermediate level of abstraction (useful for simulations at larger scales), and was designed to be a practical tool (open and reusable) for the development of different ATM studies. It was successfully applied in three studies related to the design of future ATM systems in Europe.
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