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Xavier Prats i Menéndez

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Dr. Xavier Prats i Menéndez

Serra i Húnter Fellow  (Associate Professor)
Department of Physics - Aerospace division
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC)

Office C3-104
Esteve Terradas, 5
08860 Castelldefels (Barcelona)
Catalonia - Spain
Tel: +34 93 413 41 25 Fax: +34 93 413 70 07
e-mail: xavier.prats [at]

Short Bio

Xavier Prats was born in Girona and is an Aeronautical Engineer from the National School for Civil Aviation (École Nationale de l'Aviation Civile, ENAC) located in Toulouse (France). He also holds a degree in Telecommunications Engineering from Telecom Barcelona (Escola Tècnica Superior d'Enginyeria de Telecomunicació de Barcelona, ETSETB) which belongs to the Technical  University of Catalonia (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, UPC). He received his Ph.D in Aerospace Science and Technology from the same university. He is also a private pilot with 250+ flight hours. 

Dr. Prats has been working at UPC since 2002, when he debuted as research engineer in the astronomy and geomatics group (gAGE) working in the field of satellite navigation for civil aviation. In 2005 he joined the Advanced Control Systems research group (SAC), at UPC too, where he performed his doctoral thesis work on aircraft trajectory optimisation (2005-2010). This doctoral research was advised by Prof. Joseba Quevedo and Prof. Vicenç Puig.  

At present, he is a Serra i Hunter Fellow (associate professor) at the Physics Department (Aerospace Division) of the UPC and lecturing at the School of Telecommunications and Aerospace Engineering of Castelldefels (Escola d'Enginyeria de Telecommunicació i Aeroespacial de Castelldefels, EETAC). He is a principal investigator at the ICARUS research group, which he co-founded in 2009. He is currently leading the ATM and flight operations research lines.

Dr. Prats has a solid background and research experience in satellite navigation, aircraft procedure design, air traffic management, and aircraft operations. He has published 30+ scientific papers in air transportation in peer-reviewed indexed journals and 100+ papers in conference proceedings. He is member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and member of the Airline Group of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies (AGIFORS). 

Check the UPC FUTUR portal for a complete and up-to-date list of peer-reviewed journal papers; book chapters; articles in conference proceedings; supervised PhD thesescompetitive projectsnon-competitive projects (only from Jan 2016)awards or recognitions; and scientific or technical reports

Check the following links for Non-proceeding Conferences & science outreach Talks and Supervised Master Thesis and Final Degree Projects [updated Jun 2016].


Top 5  research, development & innovation projects 

(Most relevant projects as Principal Investigator at UPC in the last 10 years funded by competitive calls)

Duration Short Title Project Title Sponsor/Programme
2016-2018 APACHE Assessment of performance in current ATM operations and of new concepts of operations for its holistic enhancement

SESAR ER (H2020)

2016-2018 R-WAKE Wake vortex simulation and analysis to enhance en-route separation management in Europe

SESAR ER (H2020)

2014-2016 CONCORDE Flight operations for novel continuous descent Clean Sky
2013-2015 GRAIN2 Greener Aeronautics International Networking 7th Framework Programme (FP7)
2012-2014 FASTOP Fast Optimiser for Continuous Descent Approaches

Clean Sky

ER: Exploratory Research - VLSD: Very Large Scale Demonstrations - H2020: Horizon 2020

Top 10  publications

(Most relevant publications in the last 10 years)

Dalmau, R., Prats, X., Verhoeven, R., Bussink, F. & Heesbeen. B. In Press. Comparison of Various Guidance Strategies to Achieve Time Constraints in Optimal Descents. in Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics. 
Xu, Y. & Prats, X. 2019. Linear Holding for Airspace Flow Programs: A Case Study on Delay Absorption and Recovery, in IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, vol. 20(3), pp. 1042-1051.

Dalmau, R., Baxley, B. & Prats, X. 2018. Fast sensitivity-based optimal trajectory updates for descent operations subject to time constraints, in proceedings of the 37th DASC Digital Avionics Systems Conference: London, England, UK. 

Vilardaga, S., Prats, X., Duan, P. & Uijt de Haag, M. 2018. Conflict-free trajectory optimization with target tracking and conformance monitoring, in Journal of aircraft,  vol. 55(3), pp. 1252-1260.

Prats, X., Dalmau, R., Verhoeven, R., Bussink, F. 2017. Human-in-the-loop performance assessment of optimized descents with time Constraints. Results from full motion flight simulation and a flight testing campaign, in Proceedings of the 12th Air Traffic Management Research and Development Seminar. Seattle, WA, USA. 

Dalmau, R. & Prats, X. 2017. Controlled time of arrival windows for already initiated energy-neutral continuous descent operations, in Transportation research. Part C, emerging technologies, vol. 85, pp. 334-347.

Dalmau, R. & Prats, X. 2017. Fuel and time savings by flying continuous cruise climbs: Estimating the benefit pools for maximum range operations, in Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, vol 35, pp. 62-71.

Delgado, L., Prats, X. & Sridhar, B. 2013. Cruise speed reduction for ground delay programs: A case study for San Francisco International Airport arrivals, in Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, vol 36. pp. 83-96

Prats, X., Delgado, L., Ramírez, J., Royo, P. & Pastor, E. 2012. Requirements, Issues, and Challenges for Sense and Avoid in Unmanned Aircraft Systems, In Journal of Aircraft, vol. 49(3), pp. 677-687.
Prats, X., Puig, V. & Quevedo, J. 2011. Equitable Aircraft Noise-Abatement Departure Procedures, In Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, vol. 34(1), pp. 192-203.

Visiting periods and internships

Date Duration Position Hosting Institution Location Subject
May 2013 1 week Visiting researcher Russ College of Engineering and Technology. School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. Ohio University Athens, OH
Research on avionics systems. Hosted by Prof. Maarten Uijt de Haag
Feb 2010 8 months Visiting researcher Civil and Environmental Engineering Department (CEE) at the University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, CA (USA) Research on Air Traffic Management. Hosted by Prof. Mark Hansen.
Feb 2007 6 months Visiting researcher Air Transport Department at the Écola Nationale de l'Aviation Civile (ENAC) Toulouse (France) Research on automation and control systems. Hosted by Prof. Félix Mora-Camino.
Jul 2003 1 month Summer course student Community of Ariane Cities (CVA) Liège (Belgium) Human factors in space transportation systems
Jan 2001 7 month Undergraduate internship Centre National d'Études Spaciales (CNES) Toulouse (France) Final degree project in Aeronautics: Study of a control law for a satellite mirror fine pointing system. Advisor: Dr. Jean Mignot
Jul 2000 1 month Undergraduate internship Perpinyà international airport Perpinyà (France) Support at the technical block
Sep 1999 9 months Undergraduate internship INDRA Espacio Barcelona Support at the satellite communications department


Current courses (Spring semester 2019)


Past taught courses

NOTE - S: Spring semester, F: Fall semester, B: Both semesters;
Master Courses Master   Semester-Years (Total Teaching Hours)
Air Traffic Management AAN F-2012/13 (30h), F-2013/14 (30h)
Aircraft AAN F-2012/13 (20h), F-2013/14 (20h)
Aircraft Operations AAN S-2012/13 (30h), S-2013/14 (30h)
Broadening of Fundamentals in Aerospace Science and Technology MAST

F-2010/11 (12h), F-2014/15 (4h), F-2015/16 (4h), F-2016/17 (4h), F-2017/18 (4h), F-2018/19 (4h)

Undergraduate Courses   School/Faculty Semester-Years (Total Teaching Hours)
Aircraft Operations EETAC    B-2012/13 (55h), F-2013/14 (55h)
Air transportation infrastructure EETAC B-2011/12 (200h), B-2012/13 (150h), B-2013/14 (150h), B-2014/15 (200h), B-2015/16 (200h), B-2016/17 (200h), B-2017/18 (200h), B-2018/19 (200h)
Models for Air Traffic Management EETAC B-2018/19 (30h)
Aerospace Technology and Air transportation EETAC S-2010/11 (80h), S-2012/13 (20h)
Aerospace Technology EETAC B-2002/03 (240h) B-2003/04 (240h), B-2004/05 (240h), B-2005/06 (106h), F-2006/07 (60h), F-2007/08 (63h), B-2008/09 (144h), F-2009/10 (82h)
Airspace Management
EETAC B-2005/06 (120h), F-2006/07 (15h)
Aircraft Navigation, Cartography and Cosmography EETAC F-2006/07 (15h), S-2010/11 (30h), S-2011/12 (30h)
Experimental Techniques in Aerophysics EETAC F-2006/07 (6h), F2007/08 (5h), F-2008/09 /(4h)
Avionics EETAC B-2004/05 (4h), B-2005/06 (7h), F-2006/07 (5h)

Coordination of undergraduate courses

Course School/Faculty Semester-Years
Aircraft Operations EETAC B-2012/13, B-2013/14, B-2014/15
Air transportation infrastructure EETAC B-2011/12, B-2012/13, B-2013/14, B-2014/15, B-2015/16, B-2016/17, B-2017/18, B-2018/19
Aircraft Navigation, Cartography and Cosmography EETAC S-2011/12
Aerospace Technology and Air transportation EETAC S-2010/11
Aerospace Technology EETAC B-2002/3, B-2003/4, B-2004/5, B-2005/6, F-2006/7, S-2008/9
Airspace Management
EETAC B-2006/7, B-2007/8, B-2008/9, B-2009/10