We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Find out more here.

Airside Vehicle Movements

AirTOp allows simulation of all common airport ground vehicles:

    • Tugs
    • Buses
    • Baggage tractors and trailers
    • Refueling trucks and refueling pumps
    • Catering trucks
    • De-icing trucks
    • Water trucks
    • Lavatory trucks
    • Cleaning trucks
    • Stairs
    • Other airfield vehicles that do not operate on aircraft, such as airfield inspection, fire and ambulance vehicles

Each vehicle is simulated as an individual entity interacting with other entities and with aircraft on taxiways and stands.

LFPG airside vehicle model

AirTOp allows the modelling of:

    • the vehicle environment, including: service roads, junctions, tunnels and bridges, parking areas, gas stations, and all locations related to service such as passenger pick up points for buses, meal reload points for catering trucks, etc.
    • the allocation strategy rules based on user defined conditions, i.e. which vehicle(s) for which flight, how many, when, etc. Among all the possibilities, these rules allow the definition of specific airline vehicle fleets and/or to request different kinds and different numbers of vehicles depending on the aircraft size.
    • the vehicle movements on service roads based on a high-fidelity road traffic model. AirTOp is able to simulate vehicles’ individual driving behaviours (acceleration, speed, etc.), traffic rules (crossing priority, etc.) and interactions with aircraft moving on taxiways. This allows the modelling of real airside traffic conditions in order to identify congestion and traffic jams, find out the impact on flights (delays) and measure the airport operations efficiency (journey durations).
    • the service of aircraft, including all the different phases for each type of vehicle: e.g. for the tugs: connection to aircraft, pushback, towing, disconnection, etc. For the buses: going to gate, pick up passengers, going to aircraft, dropping off passengers, etc. All service durations are based on flight-specific needs (number of passengers, required fuel, etc.) and vehicle specifications, speeds, capacity, transfer rates, etc. This close-to-reality model allows the reporting of times, durations and delays for each phase of service, and the building up of corresponding statistics.
    • road closures when a moving or stopped aircraft is blocking the road.

Bus at terminal to pick up passengers for departure

Bus at aircraft dropping passengers for departure

Key benefits

AirTOp models aprons, taxiways and services roads and gives you an in-depth understanding of potential bottlenecks when you plan a reorganisation of your airport, increase capacity or introduce new processes or equipment.

The high-fidelity modelling of all ground handling equipment, vehicles and aircraft behaving correctly in terms of processes, rules and speeds, will help you avoid wrong investments or expectations in terms of future capacity and delay. Furthermore, alternative solutions can easily be built and validated.

Comparison between scenarios, such as with/without CDM, can be modelled and benefits of CDM implementation quantified.

Specifically regarding the tug modelling, AirTOp can be used to model and evaluate different tug usage strategies : e.g. push/pull, close to or far from the runway lining, enabling late(r) engine start), and to compare them, considering, among other things: fuel consumption, emissions, delays, duration of use and distance covered.

The perfect visualisation of model components makes it easy to explain scenarios and validation outcome to all stakeholders, including people that are not experts in airport operations. In particular, AirTOp provides 3D visualisations of vehicle movement, including an overhead view and a rear tracking view.

LFPG airfield overhead view

Tug rear tracking view

Scenario definition

The import options and the graphical editing tools enable fast and precise designs of airport handler ground layout. DXF or .pol layouts can be imported, and/or airport satellite images or charts can be used as a background of the map view.

AirTOp features all airport vehicle structures including: service roads, parking areas, gas stations, passenger pick-up points, meal reload points for catering trucks, fuel reload for refueling trucks, etc., as well as all associated usage restrictions.


A customizable event log can be easily created by the user and exported to Excel files or an SQL database for external specific analysis. Events can be related to any action carried out by a ground vehicle, such as tug connection/disconnection, pushback, etc. Each event can be logged, along with information related to the current status of the aircraft they are servicing. Journey durations and vehicle service delays are measured accurately per vehicle and can be logged at different times.

AirTOp also provides statistics for groups of vehicles to measure airport operation activity and efficiency throughout the simulation. Available data include statistics (average and total) per hour for:

  • service durations and journey durations
  • connecting/detaching durations
  • service delays
  • rolling distances
  • fuel and CO2 consumption.



Moreover, the uses of each portion of service road during the day are recorded by AirTOp hour by hour, throughout the simulation, allowing the user to detect the most used parts of the airfield at different times, directly on the map.

Stopped time duration

Service road critical sections analysis


Vehicle traffic density analysis