Prior research has suggested that the allocation of scarce National Airspace System capacity could be improved if aircraft operators were able to exchange the priority in which their flights will be handled by the air traffic control system to reflect how much they value timeliness for specific aircraft flights. The current priority allocation system is based on a first-come first-served mechanism. FAA and users have made some modifications to firstcome first-served to give operators more control over the priority in which their own flights get served through Collaborative Decision-Making. There are also programs which allow a carrier to give up a flight time slot that it will not use without having to go to the “end of the line,” which is called slot credit substitution. Significant research has been done into ways to further improve demand-capacity balance in the National Airspace System while taking users’ flight priorities into account. Many researchers have proposed market-based allocation systems, which are used when airport slots are bought and sold. Other researchers propose quasi-market systems that could be developed using a points system. This paper illustrates how the initial allocation of priority points among carriers influences how they use these points in establishing the priority for their flights to reduce their delays. The paper then reports the results from the human-in-the-loop simulation of aircraft operators’ decisions that show how the delay reduction differences for each operator vary among the different methods used to allocate the points. In general, the paper finds that a system which uses the number of flights in the allocation tends to benefit operators of smaller aircraft, while systems that use passengers and distance in the allocation favor operators of larger aircraft.
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