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Optimizing On-Demand Aircraft Schedules for Fractional Aircraft Operators

Author

Listed:
  • Chris Martin

    () (Bitwise Solutions Inc., 6851 NE Loop 820, Suite 212, Fort Worth, Texas 76180)

  • David Jones

    () (Bitwise Solutions Inc., 6851 NE Loop 820, Suite 212, Fort Worth, Texas 76180)

  • Pinar Keskinocak

    () (School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 765 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30332)

Abstract

Fractional aircraft ownership programs have revolutionized corporate aviation. For a fraction of the cost, they offer owners the comfort and convenience of a full-time flight department. However, fractional management companies (FMCs) have costly business requirements that neither commercial airlines nor charter airlines face. Two challenges that affect their profitability are (1) the management company, instead of the customer, pays all positioning costs, and (2) FMCs give owners short call-out windows, sometimes as little as four hours before departure and guarantee lift to satisfy their demands. FMCs must operate their fleets efficiently. Bitwise Solutions developed a flexible, integrated decision-support system to help FMCs optimize their fleet schedules and succeed. The system, called FlightOps, handles all aspects of fractional fleet management: reservations, scheduling, dispatch, aircraft maintenance, and crew requirements. It also keeps track of the FAA regulatory requirements for crew duty. The system includes the ScheduleMiser, a CPLEX-based decision-support tool. ScheduleMiser creates an optimal schedule for a fleet of aircraft and a set of owner demands (missions) by minimizing costs while meeting FAA regulations and FMC business rules for feasibility. The mixed-integer model behind ScheduleMiser allows FMCs to manually schedule many types of restrictions on an aircraft's schedule, including maintenance periods, flight restrictions, and manual mission assignments. If an aircraft is not available to fly a mission, the FMC can schedule a comparable or larger available aircraft within its fleet, or it can subcontract a charter aircraft. In November 2000, Raytheon Travel Air, the second largest FMC, started using FlightOps. In a press release, it stated FlightOps helped it produce record numbers in hours flown and aircraft availability over Thanksgiving week 2000. It reported an 18.7 percent reduction in positioning legs for some aircraft and a $4.4 million savings in the first year after implementing our system.

Suggested Citation

  • Chris Martin & David Jones & Pinar Keskinocak, 2003. "Optimizing On-Demand Aircraft Schedules for Fractional Aircraft Operators," Interfaces, INFORMS, vol. 33(5), pages 22-35, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:orinte:v:33:y:2003:i:5:p:22-35
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/inte.33.5.22.19243
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mauro Dell'Amico & Matteo Fischetti & Paolo Toth, 1993. "Heuristic Algorithms for the Multiple Depot Vehicle Scheduling Problem," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(1), pages 115-125, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Patrick Hew, 2007. "ASP, The Art and Science of Practice: Direct Advisors vs. Tool Developers---Implications for Practice," Interfaces, INFORMS, vol. 37(3), pages 279-284, June.
    2. Scott E. Sampson, 2008. "OR PRACTICE---Optimization of Vacation Timeshare Scheduling," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 56(5), pages 1079-1088, October.
    3. D. Espinoza & R. Garcia & M. Goycoolea & G. L. Nemhauser & M. W. P. Savelsbergh, 2008. "Per-Seat, On-Demand Air Transportation Part I: Problem Description and an Integer Multicommodity Flow Model," Transportation Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(3), pages 263-278, August.
    4. Wei Yang & Itır Karaesmen & Pınar Keskinocak & Sridhar Tayur, 2008. "Aircraft and crew scheduling for fractional ownership programs," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 159(1), pages 415-431, March.

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