Robust Aircraft Routing

The authors propose a robust optimization approach to minimize total propagated delay in the aircraft routing problem. Instead of minimizing the expected total propagated delay by assuming that flight leg delays follow specific probability distributions, the authors' model minimizes the maximal possible total propagated delay when flight leg delays lie in a prespecified uncertainty set. The authors develop exact and tractable solution approaches for their robust model. The major contribution of the authors' model is that it allows them to explicitly model and handle correlation in flight leg delays (e.g., because of weather or various air traffic management initiatives) that existing approaches cannot efficiently incorporate. Using both historical delay data and simulated data, the authors evaluate the performance of their model and benchmark against the state-of-the-research stochastic approach. In most of the cases, the authors observe that their model outperforms the existing approach in lowering the mean, reducing volatility, and mitigating extreme values of total propagated delay. In the cases where a deficit in one of the three criteria exists, gains in the other two criteria usually offset this disadvantage. These results suggest that robust optimization approaches can provide promising results for the aircraft routing problem. The online appendix is available at


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  • Accession Number: 01664200
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 23 2018 4:23PM