Atasoy, B., Salani, M., Leonardi, C., and Bierlaire, M. (2011)

Clip-Air, a flexible air transportation system

We introduce a concept of flexible air transportation system called Clip-Air. It is a modular innovative aircraft. The flexibility provided by Clip-Air is due to the decoupling of load and carrying units. In this paper, we introduce the concept, and analyze the impacts from the airlines perspective. An integrated schedule design and fleet assignment model is developed for both standard airline fleets and Clip-Air. The model considers spill and recapture effects to represent the demand in case of capacity shortage. Recapture ratios between available itineraries in each market segment are appropriately calculated through an itinerary choice model. The comparative analysis is carried out under different scenarios which are selected with the purpose of understanding the effects of the network structure, fleet size, fleet configuration and the estimated cost figures for the Clip-Air system. It is observed that Clip-Air is able to carry on the average 5-10 % more passengers by using 20-30 % less overall capacity. Moreover, Clip-Air is found to deal better with insufficient transportation capacity. Furthermore, the scheduling decisions are robust to the estimated cost figures of Clip-Air. For the analyzed range of costs Clip-Air is always carrying more passengers with less allocated capacity compared to standard fleet.

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