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Aviation Consulting Services

Airside ⁄ Airfield Planning

R&A has extensive experience in airside and airfield planning and operations analysis at airports in the United States and throughout the world. R&A has advised airport operators on developing airfield capacity and capability, optimizing operational efficiency, maintaining safety, and mitigating risk on projects ranging from long-term master planning to detailed implementation planning for complex airfield projects.  R&A staff have completed airside projects for numerous airports, including those serving Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, Reno, San Diego, Tampa, and Washington, D.C.  R&A has had a key ongoing role in developing the O'Hare Modernization Program for Chicago O'Hare International Airport, preparing the master plan and airport layout plan (ALP), and providing implementation and operations planning services for a major airfield reconfiguration.

R&A has provided airside planning and operations analysis services since its inception in 1989.  Typical projects draw on the expertise of consultants who specialize in airfield geometry and layout, obstacle clearance and airspace obstruction analyses, and airport operations and management.  Key services include the following.

  • Demand, Capacity, and Operations Analyses – R&A has significant experience assessing airfield operating requirements and evaluating the capacity of airfield configurations.  We analyze aircraft fleet characteristics, peak period traffic volumes, airfield operating configurations, and ground movement procedures to determine demands on the airfield system.  Using tools ranging from spreadsheet models to complex simulation software, such as the Total Airspace and Airport Modeller (TAAM) and the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) Airport and Airspace Simulation Model (SIMMOD), our consultants assess airfield systems and test the capacity and delay implications of expansion alternatives.  We analyze the operations of individual airfield components using modeling tools, such as the Runway Exit Design Interactive Model (REDIM), to assess runway occupancy times and runway exit locations, and PathPlanner to simulate ramp operations and evaluate gate and apron configurations.  R&A conducts operational and capacity analyses to help airport operators solve operational challenges and to achieve development objectives.
  • Airfield Layout Planning – R&A's airport planners have significant experience addressing complex airfield layout challenges, having prepared ALPs for major airfield reconfigurations, runway capacity expansions, and taxiway network improvements.  We develop requirements for runway length and orientation, navigational aids, and taxiway connectivity based on detailed demand analyses.  Airfield geometry is developed in accordance with FAA, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and other applicable standards, and R&A consultants optimize the layout to provide the required capacity, utility, and operational efficiency while meeting safety standards and working to minimize costs and environmental impacts.  Frequently, significant coordination with the FAA or other governing regulatory authorities is required to resolve issues and to demonstrate equivalent levels of safety where an airport-specific modification of standards (MOS) is under consideration.  We have successfully managed many challenging airport layout planning projects through the FAA approval process.
  • Airspace Obstructions Analyses – Protection of navigable airspace is a critical issue for preserving the utility of airfield infrastructure and for siting new or relocated runways.  R&A uses sophisticated tools to evaluate runway approaches and surrounding airspace.  We prepare obstacle evaluations in accordance with Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 77, Objects Affecting Navigable Airspace; FAA Order 8260-3B, U.S. Standard for Terminal Instrument Procedures (TERPS), and related orders; ICAO Annex 14 and Procedures for Air Navigation Services - Aircraft Operations (PANS-OPS); and other regulatory guidance, as required.  R&A also evaluates one-engine inoperative surfaces and airline-specific departure procedures to assist with protection of full payload-range capability for individual runways.  R&A has used airspace obstruction analyses to identify obstructions for proposed runways, runway extensions, and threshold relocations; to evaluate options for reducing visibility minimums; and to support airspace capacity analyses, noise studies, and land use compatibility planning.
  • Ramp Planning and Operations Analyses – R&A works with airport operators to develop and evaluate aircraft parking position and jet bridge layouts, and to optimize gate concourse frontage for changing aircraft fleet requirements.  Our consultants analyze power-in, power-out, pushback, and towing operations to optimize aircraft parking position configurations and taxilane access. We also evaluate ground service equipment staging areas and maneuvering requirements to optimize safe and efficient operations.
  • Airport Operations and Safety Evaluations – R&A's airport planning staff provides a range of services to evaluate and analyze specialized operational areas, such as deicing systems, aircraft rescue and fire fighting response time compliance, and facility siting.  We have conducted multiple runway safety area studies, successfully coordinating and resolving alternative solutions for nonstandard conditions with the FAA.  We have participated in the FAA Safety Management System (SMS) pilot program, and our consultants also provide support for compliance assessment for certification under 14 CFR Part 139, Certification of Airports.
  • Construction Operations Planning – Airport construction projects frequently create significant operational impacts, such as runway and taxiway closures, temporary runway threshold relocations, navigational aid shutdowns, and temporary obstructions within safety and object free areas.  R&A provides construction operations planning services to assist airport operators in defining baseline requirements that must be maintained throughout construction, assessing operational impacts, and optimizing construction phasing to minimize those impacts.  Our staff work with FAA and airport operations staff to coordinate approvals for temporary closures and decommissioning of existing facilities, and certification and commissioning of new facilities.  We work closely with the FAA Air Traffic Organization to ensure that runway capacity is available for all operating conditions and to coordinate aircraft ground movement procedures.  Our construction operations planning services have led to the successful completion of multiple large and complex airfield construction projects.
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