Airport Capacity Planning & Assessment

ARC provides capacity planning and assessment, analysis and capacity optimization services for all relevant airport system components considering aircraft and vehicle traffic as well as the passenger and baggage flows.


In general Airport Capacity Planning and Assessment defines all activities related to the capability of an airport system to handle a certain demand in flight and passengers.
The overall objective is the demand-oriented, balanced and sustainable use and development of infrastructure and operational procedures, taking into account economic, environmental and qualitative corporate objectives.
Further it comprises the long term strategic planning and development of the infrastructure, the medium term and tactical adaptation and the short term and operational optimization.

Typical objectives and goals of Airport Capacity Planning and Assessment

  • General determination of current and future capacities as a baseline for planning or legal procedures
  • Dimensioning of required infrastructure for a predicted demand: When to build? What to build? How to build?
  • Balancing of the capacity of different airport elements: Runways, Airside, Terminal and Landside
  • Evaluation of the influence on capacity due to new rules and regulations
  • Identification of ‘hidden ‘ capacity, i.e. extension of capacity with limited investments
  • Balancing demand and capacity
  • Bottleneck detection: Which part of the airport is limiting the capacity?
  • Declaration of the capacity for the slot coordination process.
  • Expert reports for planning process and authorities
  • Adequate downscaling for times of less demand (COVID-19 measures)

Full scope of services and advice

ARC has performed countless capacity planning and assessment studies and projects for customers around the world and is involved in the development of methodologies and CAST based tools for capacity assessment considering technologies like Big Data Analysis, Deep Learning and AI. Methods used and designed by ARC are compliant with international practices and are recommend by airports and authorities. They cover all degrees of aggregation from long term concept planning to detailed seasonal and tactical capacity prediction and operational and real time determination of capacity.

Capacity related projects can comprise the the whole airport system or focus on parts or components

  • Airside, Terminal and Landside Capacity
  • Airspace, and Runway Capacity
  • Taxiway System Capacity
  • Aircraft Stand and Gate Capacity
  • Ground Handling Capacity
  • Capacity of the Baggage Handling System and Cargo Facilities
  • Check-in, security and boarder control capacity

According to the specific context and objectives of a project or study, different types and definitions of capacity and related KPI  are considered. E.g.:

  • Technical, Ultimate or Saturation Capacity and Maximal Throughput
  • Practical Capacity (i.e. the capacity considering an acceptable level of delay)
  • Capacity based on the Level of Service
  • Declared Capacity, Coordinated Capacity for Slot Coordination of Coordinated Airports

ARC’s services are customized to the specific requirements of each project / customer and among others may include:

  • Individual task analysis and detailed definition of objectives, approach and methodology
  • Extensive consultation on development of scenarios and suitable KPI
  • Data collection, gap analysis and provision of data from the ARC data base
  • Advice and strategy recommendation
  • Expert reporting including theoretical and legal background
  • Meaningful presentations, reports and videos
  • Quick wins and roadmap
  • Catalogue of recommendations
  • Long term service and support

Methodology and Tools for Capacity Calculation and Determination


State of the art for capacity determination is the use of the fast time simulation tool, where – depending on the task – the relevant system components are modelled with digital models in scalable granularity. By means of variation of (load) scenarios and parametrization, capacities and the corresponding KPIs can be determined even for complex systems. The CAST tools cover all areas and can be used separately or in combination, depending on the task.

CAST Terminal Simulation Software

Project Examples and References

Hamad International Airport
Airside Capacity Assessment
A detailed airside capacity study is key for capacity declaration purposes and following slot allocation. This project was carried out in cooperation with IATA. [...]
Bogota El Dorado International Airport
Runway Capacity Analysis and Enhancement
By using a ‘virtual airport’ with CAST Aircraft as testbed for what-if scenarios, operational strategies could be optimized without disturbing the actual traffic flow. [...]
Moscow-Domodedovo Airport
Runway and Airside Capacity Analysis
Can the planned airside infrastructure cope with the forecasted traffic? Identification of possible bottlenecks by simulation with CAST Aircraft. [...]