Building reliable air-travel infrastructure using empirical data and stochastic models of airline networks

Arikan, M and Deshpande, V and Sohoni, M G (2013) Building reliable air-travel infrastructure using empirical data and stochastic models of airline networks. Operations Research, 61 (1). pp. 45-64. ISSN 1526-5463

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Flight delays have been a growing issue and they have reached an all-time high in recent years, with the airlines' on-time performance at its worst level in 2007 since 1995. A recent report by the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress chaired by Senator Charles E. Schumer has estimated that the total cost to the U.S. economy because of flight delays was as much as 41 billion in 2007. The goal of this paper is to build stochastic models of airline networks and utilize publicly available data to answer the following policy questions: Which are the bottleneck airports in the U.S. air-travel infrastructure (i.e., airports that cause most delay propagation)? How would increasing airport capacity at these airports alleviate delay propagation? What are the appropriate metrics for measuring the robustness of airline schedules? How could these schedules be made more robust? Which flight in an aircraft rotation is a bottleneck flight (and, hence, deserves managerial attention)? Flight delays are typically attributed to two factors: (i) the randomness in the intrinsic travel time for a scheduled flight (which is the travel time excluding propagated delays), and (ii) the propagation of this randomness through the air-travel network and infrastructure. We model both of these factors that cause travel delays. The contribution of this paper is twofold. First, we develop stochastic models, using empirical data, to analyze the propagation of delays through air-transportation networks. Our stochastic models allow us to develop three important robustness measures for airline networks. Second, our analysis enables us to make policy recommendations regarding managing bottleneck resources in the air-travel infrastructure, which, if addressed, could lead to a significant improvement in air-travel reliability

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Operations Management
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2014 09:54
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2023 20:28

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