Airline delay management problem with airport capacity constraints and priority decisions

B.F. Lopes dos Santos*, Maarten M.E.C. Wormer, Thomas A.O. Achola, Richard Curran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


This paper deals with the Airline Delay Management Problem (ADMP), which can be described as the task of dealing with daily airline operational delays and deciding whether to delay subsequent flights at a hub airport or to have them departing on time. An innovative integer linear programming approach is presented to the capacitated case of the ADMP and airport limitations in terms of bay availability, taxiway capacity and runway separation are incorporated to represent capacity constraints. Fuel cost, passenger compensation, and passenger inconvenience costs are included in the objective function. The decision variables include the re-timing of flight departures and arrivals, the use of the airport capacity over time and the rebooking of passengers in case of missed connections. To guarantee the linearity of the optimization model and fast computational times, a receding horizon modeling framework is adopted. The approach is applied to a case study using real operational and passenger data from an international hub-and-spoke carrier. The case study shows the capability of the linear model to deal with a complete day of operations within a few minutes. The results suggest that the proposed approach can lead to cost reductions of almost 30% during recovery, when compared with the solution from the airline. In addition, a sensitivity analysis is provided to investigate the impact of not including passenger inconvenience costs and of reducing runway capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-44
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Air Transport Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • Airline disruption management
  • Binary linear programming
  • Delay management problem
  • Hub airport capacity
  • Passenger connectivity
  • Receding horizon control


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