Tropical Geography ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (2): 194-205.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003219

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Calculation of the System Delay Elasticity of the Beijing-Guangzhou Air Corridor with Analysis of the Air Flow Operation Structure

Zhang Yinuo, Lu Zi(), Ding Jianghui   

  1. School of Resource and Environment Sciences, Hebei Normal University, Shijiazhuang 050024, China
  • Received:2019-07-28 Revised:2020-01-06 Online:2020-03-10 Published:2020-05-15
  • Contact: Lu Zi


During the last 10 years, aviation demand in China grew faster than transport capacity, leading to the intensification of the conflict between airspace capacity and flight flow and causing significant route congestion and flight delays. The Beijing-Guangzhou air corridor is considered the core component of the “inverted N-shaped north-south frame” of China’s air corridor pattern. In this study, a multi-level measurement framework that includes delay, duration-delay and accumulation-delay elasticity coefficient was constructed. By applying the actual track point data of 848 flights during a 24 h period in the Beijing-Guangzhou air corridor, the duration of the delay of a single flight, the system delay accumulation, and the system delay elasticity coefficient were calculated. The delay elasticity of the Beijing-Guangzhou air corridor system was evaluated, and its relationship with the air flow structure was analyzed. The improvement of the node-link settings and grid division reflected the characteristics of fine-grained research and the reasons for the heterogeneity of the delay elasticity were analyzed based on the airline network structure. The research suggests that: 1) overall, the flights in this air corridor primarily generate delay and show delay absorption capacity in low traffic periods. The average delay time for flights is 1.4 min. The mean delay of departure flights is generally higher than that of arrival flights. With the increase of flow intensity between hub airports, the mean and peak amplitudes of flight delay increase. According to the standard statistics of delay duration >15 min, the probability density and mean delay of each confluent flight are higher than those of a direct flight between the hub airports; 2) the delay of the Beijing-Guangzhou air corridor system presents a dynamic process that accumulates in the central route while peripheral routes recover. The accumulated delay of central airlines is 689 min, while the recovery of peripheral airlines is 936 min. The preference of the operators for central routes makes high-density traffic convergence the principal cause of delay accumulation; 3) the delay elasticity of the Beijing-Guangzhou air corridor system varies greatly among different air route segments and improves significantly with an increase in the number of paths and the dispersion of traffic flow between nodes. Multi-link air route segments trigger active delay absorption and thus have a strong delay recovery ability. The relationship between the delay elasticity and the air flow operation structure of the air corridor system is established by three key elements: the central route, the peripheral route, and the track clusters. This article provides a new perspective for the measurement and understanding of system delay elasticity and a basis for the selection of diverse routes and flight schedules in air corridors. Contrary to the previous elastic strategy of adjusting the allocation of flight slot resources and retaining the remaining capacity, this study reflects that flexible airspace utilization and dynamic airspace management, namely, adaptive route reconstruction and optimization of connections, would improve the efficiency of the system elasticity guarantee system.

Key words: system delay elasticity, air flow operation structure, Beijing-Guangzhou air corridor

CLC Number: 

  • V355