MS Proposal: Thayna da Silva Oliveira

Tue Dec 01 2020 03:00 PM to 04:00 PM
"Concurrent Schedule Design and Fleet Assignment Optimization for Thin-Haul Operations"

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Master's Thesis Proposal




Thayna da Silva Oliveira

(Advisor: Prof. Dimitri Mavris)


"Concurrent Schedule Design and Fleet Assignment Optimization for Thin-Haul Operations"


Tuesday, December 1
3:00 p.m.  (EST)


The thin-haul market is characterized by short range routes with low demand, occasionally served by commuter airlines. Historically, commuter operators have not been able to maintain profitable operations in this market, migrating to longer and more profitable routes throughout the years. As a result, many small cities have lost their air service and airports have become underutilized. This research aims to investigate how flight operations optimization can aid commuter operators to improve profitability and consequently restore the air service to small communities. Despite the low individual demand of each thin-haul route, the cumulative demand in the entire market can be significant if passengers are aggregated at hubs. In this case, an opportunity for profitability may exist if the optimum schedule and frequency of flights is determined, as well as if the aircraft with the right capacity is assigned to the right flight leg. These problems are known in the literature as schedule design and fleet assignment. The thesis objective becomes to develop a framework for integrated schedule design and fleet assignment (ISD-FA) optimization, focusing on maximizing profit. However, thin-haul operations place a challenge for this problem due to the lack of a baseline schedule. Therefore, the proposed methodology addresses this issue by coupling the current ISD-FA techniques with the concept of daily demand distribution, that for thin-haul operations is based on its competition with ground transportation. Demand estimation and its daily distribution are determined considering that potential thin-haul passengers are those who commute from one city to another. The expected contributions of this thesis are the development of the framework for concurrent ISD-FA, the demonstration of the potential to serve this market segment profitably, and the performance of sensitivity analysis of these profit margins with respect to economic assumptions, aircraft technology levels and demand assumptions.



  • Prof. Dimitri Mavris – School of Aerospace Engineering (advisor)
  • Dr. Bradford Robertson – School of Aerospace Engineering
  • Dr. Jens Pfaender – School of Aerospace Engineering
  • Dr. Mohammed Hassan – School of Aerospace Engineering