A Stochastic Programming Approach to the Airline Crew Scheduling Problem

Yen, Joyce W.; Birge, John R.
February 2006
Transportation Science;Feb2006, Vol. 40 Issue 1, p3
Academic Journal
Traditional methods model the billion-dollar airline crew scheduling problem as deterministic and do not explicitly include information on potential disruptions. Instead of modeling the crew scheduling problem as deterministic, we consider a stochastic crew scheduling model and devise a solution methodology for integrating disruptions in the evaluation of crew schedules. The goal is to use that information to find robust solutions that better withstand disruptions. Such an approach is important because we can proactively consider the effects of certain scheduling decisions. By identifying more robust schedules, cascading delay effects are minimized. In this paper we describe our stochastic integer programming model for the airline crew scheduling problem and develop a branching algorithm to identify expensive flight connections and find alternative solutions. The branching algorithm uses the structure of the problem to branch simultaneously on multiple variables without invalidating the optimality of the algorithm. We present computational results demonstrating the effectiveness of our branching algorithm.


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