Robust 4D climate-optimal aircraft trajectory planning under weather-induced uncertainties

Free-routing airspace

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The non-CO2 climate impact of aviation strongly relies on the atmospheric conditions at the time and location of emissions. Therefore, it is possible to mitigate their associated climate impact by planning trajectories to re-route airspace areas with significant climate effects. Identifying such climate-sensitive regions requires specific weather variables. Inevitably uncertain weather forecasts can lead to inefficient aircraft trajectories if not accounted for within flight planning. The current study addresses the problem of generating robust climate-friendly flight plans under meteorological uncertainty characterized using the ensemble prediction system. We introduce a framework based on the concept of robust tracking optimal control theory to formulate and solve the proposed flight planning problem. Meteorological uncertainty effects on aircraft performance variables are captured using the formulated ensemble aircraft dynamical model and controlled by penalizing the performance index variance. Case studies show that the proposed approach can generate climate-optimized trajectories with minimal sensitivity to weather uncertainty.