Tool offers better flight choices

Researchers have developed an original approach to flight scheduling that, if implemented, could result in a significant increase in profits for airlines and more flights that align with passengers’ preferences.

Some of the most critical decision-making steps taken by airlines across the world rely on tools that do not fully incorporate passengers’ preferences and the dynamics of flight scheduling, resulting in missed profits and unsatisfied passengers, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) research.

The research paper uses 2016 data from Alaska Airlines to introduce an original integrated optimisation approach to comprehensive flight timetabling and fleet assignment, while taking into consideration passengers’ preferences such as flight departure time.

“Beyond ticket prices, perhaps the biggest thing that air passengers care about is the convenience of the flight schedule,” explained study author Professor Vikrant Vaze.

“Yet, due to the associated computational complexities, nobody has really tried to completely redesign an airline’s flight schedule from scratch to take passenger preference into account.

“This paper does just that, by proposing a comprehensive mathematical model and a new algorithm to solve it. It aligns the flight schedules to passenger preferences, in turn maximising airline profits.”

The model’s flexible and comprehensive approach would enable airlines to increase the number of passengers with one-stop itineraries and, consequently, dramatically increase the total one-stop revenue and the total operating profit compared with the most advanced approaches currently used in the industry.

In addition, the paper suggests that an airline using this approach would experience a significant increase in market share.

Do you think airlines should place more importance on passenger preferences when it comes to flight scheduling? How often have you been unable to get a flight that suited your needs?

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Written by Ben


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