An optimization approach to routing and scheduling commuter aircraft

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


This paper presents a method for simultaneously optimizing the routes and schedules of certain commuter airlines. This method is specifically designed for those commuter airlines which primarily provide a feeder service from small communities into a single large community.

The problem is that given a set of small communities, a single large community, a set of aircraft and the demand as a function of time of day, determine which communities each aircraft will serve, the order in which these communities will be served and the time(s) that the aircraft will stop at each community in order to minimize passenger inconvenience. These assignments are subject to service and economic constraints.

The problem is formulated as a mixed integer quadratic programming problem. A computer program is developed to solve this problem. An example problem with an operating commuter airline is included to demonstrate the application of the solution procedure.