Research Summary

Airline Schedule Disruptions



Increasing congestion and frequent schedule disruptions throughout the National Air Transportation System, both at airports and en route, have led to significant flight and passenger delays. Professor Fearing's primary research focus is on measuring and reducing these costs. He approaches the problem of congestion and disruptions from a perspective that encompasses the concerns of all major stakeholders - regulators, airlines, and passengers - in order to expand the potential savings and to facilitate acceptance.

Performance Measurement

Professor Fearing has researched and developed new tools for measuring performance of the National Air Transportation System. These tools use statistical and optimization techniques, and incorporate the concerns of multiple stakeholders. One such tool is a novel and justifiable fairness metric for evaluating schedule allocation techniques used during severe disruptions. To measure passenger impacts and facilitate passenger-centric research endeavors, Professor Fearing has helped develop a statistical approach for estimating historical passenger travel and delays.

Improvement Opportunities

Using the tools described above, Professor Fearing has shown that there are significant opportunities for cost savings in the coordination of Traffic-Flow Management (TFM) programs. Specifically, he has shown that applying an optimization-based approach to managing these programs could lead to savings on the order of $50 million per year in the United States. The paper describing this research was selected by the airline industry group AGIFORS as the winner of its 2009 Anna Valicek Medal. His current research focuses on the trade-offs between capacity and predictability in the construction of these programs.

Keywords: performance measurement; air transportation; traffic flow management; Air Transportation Industry;