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Air Traffic Flow Constraint Index

A new method of determining optimum flow patterns for airplanes during hazardous weather events

Published: 7th April 2022
Air Traffic Flow Constraint Index
Source: Animaflora PicsStock,,


Air traffic congestion due to weather hazards causes millions of dollars in lost airline profit each year. When inclement weather arises, planes are forced to delay takeoff, maintain holding patterns, or change altitude to ease air traffic constriction around major weather events. Adequately planning for weather hazards is difficult because there is no tool that combines weather data with historical air traffic data.

Technology Overview

The Flow Constraint Index is a technique that blends impact from weather with air traffic information. The technique uses a minimum cut bottleneck algorithm from graph theory to compute a measure of reduced flow due to hazardous weather for a specified corridor system. The appropriate corridor system is determined by the airspace usage, traffic patterns, and the specific aggregation needs. This allows for efficient planning and reduced air traffic constriction around weather hazards.

Figure 1


  • Increased efficiency in air traffic around inclement weather
  • Combines air traffic and meteorological data
  • More efficient flight planning


  • Air traffic control
  • Weather forecasting for aviation
  • Flight planning
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