The DIMT/ODISS Validation exercise completed at Stockholm Arlanda Airport.
In March 2019, the DIMT/ODISS Validation exercise was successfully completed at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. This is a perfect example of transferring technical knowledge from space operations to the aviation sector. Swedavia and Telespazio VEGA Deutschland cooperated to create an aerospace product to improve integration of the de-icing process into A-CDM.
Mr. Sebastiaan De Stigter, Aerospace Applications and ATM Business Development at Telespazio VEGA Deutschland, gives us more insight about the product called ODISS, its development and benefits.
Why is it important to focus on improving the de-icing?
Sebastiaan De Stigter: In cold weather, each aircraft is de-iced by a specialist de-icing company before take-off to prevent build-up of ice on the wings and fuselage, which can affect the aircraft’s aerodynamics. Although the concept of operations differs between airports, there are typically multiple de-icing companies at an airport and they have contractual obligations and SLAs with the airlines to carry out the de-icing work.
The airport operator in many cases has only a very limited knowledge of what is happening when.
At the same time, any delay caused by de-icing operations in the turnaround process of aircraft will directly impact the punctuality of airport departures. That is the reason for developing the Optimal De-Icing Sequence Support product, called ODISS.
What is ODISS?
Sebastiaan De Stigter: ODISS is an information gateway that enables end-to-end integration between APOC and de-icing companies. In addition, it offers multi-parameter optimized de-icing resource scheduling; ODISS takes into account a model-based prediction of the de-icing needs, icing condition forecasts, de-icing rig availability, drive-up times, etc. Furthermore, it provides a holistic overview to the Airport Operations Centre (APOC) through web-access dashboard visualization. The system provides decision support, by means of optimized scheduling and capacity validation. ODISS is adaptable to various CONOPS including the type of de-icing (on-stand, after pushback, remote, or a mix) and different ways of organizing the de-icing process at an airport.
How does it do this?
Sebastiaan De Stigter: We implemented the SESAR1 DIMT concept in an operational software system that interconnects the relevant stakeholders in the de-icing process at the airport. This allows for timely exchange of planning and realization data and provides an overview to the APOC. Moreover, by combining up-to-date and forecast data on de-icing equipment, weather and expected de-icing needs, the system optimizes use of de-icing resources, by offering the de-icing coordinator an optimized de-icing schedule, which in turn flows into the job lists of the de-icing vehicles.
In which context was the management tool developed?
Sebastiaan De Stigter: The requirements for a shared management tool (DIMT) for integrating the aircraft de-icing process, into the airport collaborative decision-making (A-CDM) process, was developed within the context of the Single European Skies Advances Research (SESAR) program by a project team led by airport operator Swedavia. The company owns and operates ten Swedish airports. As air traffic volumes are growing and approaching the network capacity, it is of great importance to ensure that airport operations are punctual, and in line with network operations plans, to prevent delays and domino effects.
More in detail, when is ODISS needed?
Sebastiaan De Stigter: ODISS is a de-icing management system and therefore needed during the winter season, which can last many months at some European airports. Most of them need to provide de-icing services. We have believed for some years that improvements could be made to that process with the help of scheduling systems that make use of model-based predictions using up-to-date data from various data sources and different stakeholders, including specific de-icing meteorological forecast data.
Who developed ODISS and what is the added value for public?
Sebastiaan De Stigter: Within SESAR, Swedavia co-developed the concept of a De-Icing Management Tool, which focused on a shared environment for prediction, planning and scheduling for de-icing operations. This would allow airport capacity to be utilised more efficiently and could enable a reduction in delayed flights. In order to trial the concept and validate its expected benefits, Telespazio VEGA Deutschland was brought on board to build an initial prototype of ODISS to be used during the winter of 2014/2015.
Which added value brings Telespazio VEGA Deutschland to develop such software?
Sebastiaan De Stigter: The software is building on expertise from controlling ESA satellites. More in detail, ODISS uses planning and scheduling algorithms, similar to what we use for automated planning of payload activities, allocating resources on a satellites and ground stations, and for scheduling communications between satellites and ground stations. Even though the application is different, the scheduling problem is comparable on a technical level. Telespazio VEGA Deutschland has a long track record in the space industry for developing planning and scheduling systems of various kinds for institutional clients (ESA, EUMETSAT), governmental and commercial satellite operators.
More in detail, where do you see synergies between ODISS and satellite operations?
Sebastiaan De Stigter: ODISS and satellite operations are facing the same challenges: optimally slotting limited resources into a timeline while taking into account various boundary conditions, which limit how you can optimize the problem.
Thank you for pointing out the knowledge transfer, used to create an aerospace product! Coming back to the product itself, what were the results of the trial during the winter of 2014/2015?
Sebastiaan De Stigter: The initial standalone ODISS prototype could not be trailed extensively owing to the mild winter. However, the results were sufficient to encourage further development for testing during the winter of 2015/2016, this time of a shared browser-based system. Initial feedback from the airport operators and the de-icing companies has been very positive.
How many airports were used to test the de-icing software?
Sebastiaan De Stigter: During the winter of 2015/2016 the new ODISS tool was tested at both Stockholm Arlanda and Oslo Gardermoen airports, where different de-icing operational concepts are employed, thus providing its value as an operational system in different contexts. As recently as March 2019, we completed the validation trial at Stockholm Arlanda, where we achieved an end-to-end integration between the APOC and the Vestergaard fleet management system running at one of the de-icing companies. Even though the final validation results are not yet published, the first feedback shows possible process improvements resulting from the integrated ground handling information sharing.
Will you be able to integrate ODISS as a standard tool used at European airports?
Sebastiaan De Stigter: With support from Swedavia, Telespazio VEGA Deutschland has already garnered interest from other European airports that are in need of gaining greater visibility of de-icing operations and integrating this with their overall airport management system. We are very optimistic to provide the airports with a solution for their future operations and support them in any way to improve their departure punctuality the de-icing season. In some airports we see a shift in CONOPS, where the airport itself wants to take a more active role in managing the de-icing process. From an optimization problem perspective, it is exactly the same, only with a different division of responsibilities among the stakeholders. ODISS can thereby be of great value in providing decision support to airports in managing the de-icing planning themselves.