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TAF is a coded and formally clearly defined weather forecast applied to a 5-mile radius around an airport.
The discrimination in foreign and domestic airlines is based on the Swiss Civil Aviation statistic (FSO 2010).
As explained in section 3, the definition of “good” versus “adverse” weather condition in this study is based on the TAF parameter VIS (visibility). For the scope of this study weather conditions have been defined as adverse if visibility is less than 5000 m and good otherwise. This simplification assumes that the cockpit crew is faced with only two options: carrying additional fuel or not. In reality, however, the decision making process is more complex and the decision is not binary but rather about a continuum (“amount additional fuel”). There are no strict rules that define how much additional fuel has to be carried under certain weather condition, hence, the cockpit crew considers all available information and takes into account personal experience as well. The final decision is taken by the pilot who is responsible for the flight.
We abstract from the proceedings, where the flight planning is carried out without an alternative airport. Such proceedings can only be used for flights of less than 6-h duration and only under specific meteorological conditions.
1 USD (U.S. dollars) = 0.934 CHF (Swiss francs) (average exchange rate 2012).
The airlines estimated the additional fuel reserve that has to be carried as well as the additional fuel burned to carry the fuel reserve depending on the aircraft type and the flight duration. Moreover, they estimated the cost of a deviation based on the aircraft type.
In 2009 a total amount of roughly 59 000 landings on regular services were registered at Geneva Airport (see FSO 2010), of which 40% were generated by domestic airlines. However, fewer long-haul flights are operated through the Geneva airport, a fact which has to be taken into consideration.
Even in the very hypothetical case, when the forecasts are always adverse regardless of the actual weather, the economic benefit from TAF is not zero. This is because the regulations require airlines to carry additional fuel to reach two alternative airports instead of one if no TAF is available (see section 2).
On the long-term average (reference period 1961–90) Zurich Airport records snowfall during 19.9 days yr−1, the maximum temperature is below 0°C during 22.6 days yr−1, and the minimum temperature is below 0°C during 114.8 days yr−1 (climatological standard normals computed by MeteoSwiss).