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An iterative approach to robust and integrated aircraft routing and crew scheduling

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>05/2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Computers and Operations Research
Issue number5
Volume37
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)833-844
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

In airline scheduling a variety of planning and operational decision problems have to be solved. We consider the problems aircraft routing and crew pairing: aircraft and crew must be allocated to flights in a schedule in a minimal cost way. Although these problems are not independent, they are usually formulated as independent mathematical optimisation models and solved sequentially. This approach might lead to a suboptimal allocation of aircraft and crew, since a solution of one of the problems may restrict the set of feasible solutions of the problem solved later. Also, when minimal cost solutions are used in operations, a short delay of one flight can cause very severe disruptions of the schedule later in the day. We generate solutions that incur small costs and are also robust to typical stochastic variability in airline operations. We solve the two original problems iteratively. Starting from a minimal cost solution, we produce a series of solutions which are increasingly robust. Using data from domestic airline schedules we evaluate the benefits of the approach as well as the trade-off between cost and robustness. We extend our approach considering the aircraft routing problem together with two crew pairing problems, one for technical crew and one for flight attendants.