Proceedings of the

The 33rd European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2023)
3 – 8 September 2023, Southampton, UK

Hybrid Threats on Air Traffic

Corinna Köpke1,a, Kris Schroven1,b and Alexander Stolz2

1Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, Ernst-Mach-Institut, EMI, Am Klingelberg 1, Efringen-Kirchen, Germany.

2Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Emmy-Noether-Straße 2, 79110 Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.


Air traffic in general is vulnerable to various hazards ranging from natural hazards to technical failures or attacks which can be both cyber and physical. These threats impact on airports but also the air traffic management can be affected to influence the overall air traffic. Here, we analyze the resilience of air traffic by studying performance degradation and recovery in airports due to hybrid threats. An airport consists of many coupled network systems such as public announcement system (PAS), flight information display system (FIDS), access control system (ACS), baggage handling system (BHS), and resource management system (RMS). These systems can be interrelated based on the configuration and setup of the network. Consisting of physical assets such as servers and routers connected through an airport internal network, these systems are vulnerable to physical and cyber threats. In this work, a flexible and modular approach is presented to combine various threats and apply a series of attacks onto the air traffic model by impacting single airports. In contrast to existing work, the nodes of the air traffic model do not reduce their performance to zero but follow pre-estimated resilience curves. Thus, the overall resilience of the air traffic model can be assessed in a dynamic way, here demonstrated for air traffic over Germany.

Keywords: Air traffic, Hybrid threats, Cyber-physical systems, Airport networks.

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