Optimizing airline operations under uncertainty

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Bilkent University
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Fluctuations in passenger demand, airport congestion, and high fuel costs are the main threats to airlines' profit, thereby need to be carefully addressed in airline scheduling problems. This study takes an advantage of aircraft cruise speed control in several scheduling problems to keep the cost of fuel manageable. We first generate a flight schedule by integrating strategic departure time decisions, tactical eeting and routing decisions and more operational flight timing decisions under stochastic demand and non-cruise times. Our model differs from the existing studies by including aircraft cruise speed decisions to compensate for increase in non-cruise time variations due to the airport congestion. To e ciently solve the problem, we provide a scenario group-wise decomposition algorithm. Then, we consider a new problem which aims to accommodate new flights into an existing

flight schedule in a short time. We suggest some operational changes such as controlling the aircraft cruise speed, re-timing flight departures and swapping aircraft to open up time for new flights. However, nonlinear fuel cost function, and binary assignment and swapping decisions significantly increase the computational burden of solving scheduling problems. In this thesis, we propose strong mixed integer conic quadratic formulations. Finally, we extend the problem by including a strategic decision to lease an aircraft for introducing new flights. More importantly, we consider the effects of departure time decisions on the probability distribution of random demand. We propose a bounding method based on scenario group-wise decomposition for stochastic programs with decision dependent probabilities.

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Aircraft cruise speed control, Airline scheduling, Decision dependent uncertainty, Decomposition methods, Mixed integer conic quadratic programming, Stochastic programming
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