Air traffic is partly planned to avoid the saturation of airspace and airports. For this, it is possible to change one of the following parameters or more for each airplane:
Quite different approaches were chosen in the United States and Europe regarding planning measures. These differences are explained by historical and meteorological factors. Historically, saturation phenomena mainly affected airports in the United States and en-route airspace in Europe, in part because of the fragmentation of national airspace. On the weather front, the more saturated areas in the United States are almost daily impacted by convective, at certain times of the year.
As a result, in United States, each major terminal area maintains its own flight planning, more or less independently, and trajectories are often re-planned so that aircraft are already flying. In Europe, it is a central agency (CFMU) which is responsible for re-routing the flow of aircraft to avoid crowded areas, or certain aircraft delay takeoffs.
Research topics on flight planning
The research topics are therefore also quite different. In the United States, numerous publications focus on how to develop consistency schedules different terminal areas or strategies for re-routement, according to weather phenomena. In Europe, there are more publications on "network effects" of regulations put on air sectors or improving takeoff slot allocation algorithms.
More recently, with new operational concepts proposed in SESAR and NEXTGEN, research flight planning is oriented towards the concept of "4D contract."
Here are some examples of the most recent work on the MAIAA flight planning:
Here also some previous work to MAIAA creation: