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Revamped Crew Scheduling Model Cuts Airline Delays by as Much as 30%

Oct 23, 2019   |   360 Magazine

"Delays and disruptions in airline operations annually result in billions of dollars of additional costs to airlines, passengers and the economy," reports 360 Magazine. "Airlines strive to mitigate these costs by creating schedules that are less likely to get disrupted or schedules that are easy to repair when there are disruptions—new research in the INFORMS journal Transportation Science has found a solution using a mathematical optimization model.

"The study, conducted by Vikrant Vaze of Dartmouth and David Antunes and Antonio Pais Antunes, both of the University of Coimbra, looks at data from Virgin America airline from 2014, that is 94 daily flights connecting 14 continental U.S. airports.

"Using this data, researchers determined that introducing buffers or slack times that are distributed in an intelligent way across a crew schedule can reduce extreme delays by as much as 20–30% on average, with only a 2–3% increase in crew salary costs.

"'Our model can lead to significant overall benefits, fewer flight delays, more importantly fewer worst-case delays, fewer crew infeasibilities, and lower passenger delays and disruptions,' said Vaze, a professor at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth."

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