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A New Era for Crew Recovery at Continental Airlines 2002 Franz Edelman Award Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences Speakers Anna White, Director of Crew Technology, Continental Airlines Dr. Julian Pachon, Operations Research Scientist, CALEB Technologies Video

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slide1

A New Era for Crew Recovery

at Continental Airlines

2002 Franz Edelman Award

Achievement in Operations Research

and the Management Sciences

speakers
Speakers
  • Anna White, Director of Crew Technology, Continental Airlines
  • Dr. Julian Pachon, Operations Research Scientist, CALEB Technologies

Video

  • Larry Kellner, President, Continental Airlines

Contributing Team Members

  • Dr. Gang Yu, founder of CALEB Technologies; Jack G. Taylor Regents Professor in Business at UT Austin
  • Dr. Gao Song, O.R. Scientist, CALEB Technologies
  • Dr. Michael Arguello, O.R. Scientist, CALEB Technologies
  • Sandra McCowan, Software Engineer and Project Manager, CALEB Technologies
slide3

Continental -

Where We Are Today

slide4

Manila

Before Sep 2001: Serve 228 Destinations in 40 Countries

Sapporo

Glasgow

Dublin

Shannon

Sendai

Niigata

Calgary

Manchester

Vancouver

Quebec

Birmingham

Stansted

Seoul

Nagoya

London

Tokyo

Halifax

Montreal

Amsterdam

Okayama

Ottawa

Brussels

Dusseldorf

Osaka

Toronto

Cleveland

Fukuoka

Paris

Frankfurt

New York

Zurich

Houston

Madrid

Milan

Taipei

Lisbon

Hermosillo

Bermuda

Honolulu

Chihuahua

Hong Kong

Rome

Saltillo

Nassau

Torreon

Monterrey

Aguascalientes

Los Cabos

Guam

San Juan

Tampico

Saipan

St. Thomas

Mazatlan

Puerto Plata

St. Maarten

San Luis Potosi

Santo Domingo

Guadalajara

Merida

Cancun

Leon

Antigua

Puerto Vallarta

Cozumel

Veracruz

Grand Cayman

Mexico City

Truk

Pohnpei

Puebla

Belize City

Ixtapa

Kwajalein

Yap

San Pedro Sula

Aruba

Acapulco

Kosrae

Tegucigalpa

Palau

Guatemala City

Majuro

San Salvador

Caracas

Managua

Aguadilla

Tel Aviv

San Jose

Panama City

Bogota

Quito

Guayaquil

Lima

Denpasar

Cairns

Belo Horizonte

Rio de Janeiro

São Paulo

slide5

Newark (17%)

Cleveland (14%)

Houston (5%)

Europe (4%)

Latin America (2%)

Pacific (14%)

Continental Smaller,

But Maintains High Quality Product

Estimated Second Quarter 2002 vs. 2001

Data includes Continental Express

slide6

Exceptional Completion Factor

99.6%

98.8%

98.7%

98.2%

98.1%

97.9%

97.7%

97.3%

97.2%

D.O.T Completion %

96.7%

Industry = Top 10 US Major Carriers

*Non-weighted average; data excludes Sept 11-30

slide7

Consistent Strong Operational Integrity

D.O.T On-Time

% Arrivals within 14 minutes

*September 2001 capacity reduction cancellations not included

slide8

History Lesson - March 1993:

The Storm of the Century and Catalyst for Change

slide9

March 1993: Storm of the Century

  • Worst Blizzard to hit US since 1888
  • Affected 26 states, with 20 inches of snow in Southeast
  • Caused $1 billion in damage
  • Closed EWR airport for almost 2 days

Continental Impact

  • Total Loss of Operational Control
  • Five Days to Recover Crews
  • Millions of Dollars in Losses
  • VERY Unhappy Customers

Continental Decision

  • Create Operations Task Force
  • Centralize Operations Data in a Common Database
  • Buy Best of Breed Real Time Decision Support Systems

It took days for Continental to locate all crewmembers

slide10

Operational Recovery

N-times

Inputs

Variables

Result

Flight Operations

Inflight

Crew

SOCC

Aircraft Maintenance

Airport Services

Aircraft

New

Operational Schedule

Replan

CrewSolver and OpsSolver

Customer Service

Reservations

Marketing

Revenue Management

Passengers

Irregular Ops

One time

slide12

The CrewSolver Project at Continental

  • Original plan was to purchase an off-the-shelf system and customize for Continental
    • No major airline had a system of this kind
    • No software vendors had solved the problem
    • O.R. scholars did not have the needed airline knowledge
  • CALEB Technologies had both the operations research expertise and the airline background to deliver what was needed
slide13

CrewSolver System Overview

Crew Updates

via the Web

  • Operational Data
  • Crew Pairings
  • Aircraft Routes
  • Legality and
  • Qualification Data

CrewSolver

Optimization

Server

Multiple

Customized

Solutions

  • Real-time
  • Disruptions
  • Cancellations
  • Delays
  • Diverts
  • Schedule Changes

Legality

Checker

Updates to SOCC Systems

  • Solution Request
  • User Constraints
  • What-if scenario
  • OpsSolver Solution
slide14

Maximize flights

  • completed
  • Minimize revenue
  • loss
  • Top quartile margins
  • Maximize yields
  • and profits

Fly To

Win

  • Generate reliable
  • flight crew schedule
  • information quickly
  • Preserve quality of life
  • Treat each other with
  • dignity and respect
  • Open communications

Working

Together

The Go Forward Plan and The CrewSolver System

slide15

Fund

The

Future

  • Minimize crew
  • recovery costs
  • Reduce passenger
  • changes
  • Control our destiny
  • Reduce costs by
  • leveraging technology

Make

Reliability

A Reality

  • Reliable on-time
  • flight schedule
  • Maintain DOT
  • performance
  • Produce reliable crew
  • recovery plan
  • Minimize crew delays
  • and cancellations

The Go Forward Plan and The CrewSolver System

slide17

The Crew Recovery Problem

When faced with disruptions including:

  • Flight delays and cancellations
  • Diversions
  • Adding new flights
  • Reassigning equipment types
  • Sick crew
  • Crew misconnects
  • Crew legality issues

How do airlines get crew back to planned pairings in a timely manner?

  • Minimize recovery costs while covering all flights
  • Ensure crew qualifications and legalities
  • Support quality of life objectives
slide18

Optimization Model for Crew Recovery

Minimize (all incremental pairing costs) + (deadhead costs) + (uncovered flight costs) + (cost of using reserves)

Subject to

Every scheduled flight should have at least one crew member for each required position (1)

Each crew member can be assigned to at most one associated pairing (2)

slide19

Novelty of Solution Techniques

  • Solution localization
  • Constraint localization
  • Cost characterization and prioritization
  • Multiple solutions
  • Partial solutions
  • Computational Experience
slide21

CrewSolver System Architecture

System Environment

Variables

Crew

Client GUI

Configuration

Parameters

Socket

CrewSolver

Optimization Server

Static

City File

Crew File

Shared

Memory

Middleware

FTP

Message Server

Mainframe

SOC

Database

Publish/

Subscribe

slide23

CrewSolver System Enhancements

  • Web-based GUI
  • Delay Suggestions
  • N-way Swapping
  • Pairing Splitting
  • Reduced Memory Footprint
  • Greater User Control
  • Other Airline Implementations
slide25

Case Study: New Year’s Eve 2000-2001

  • Nor’easter hit New York metropolitan area, worst since 1996
  • 12/29/2000 35% Newark reduction for 12/30/00 = 112 cancellations
  • 12/30/2000 Complete shut down of Newark hub = 113 cancellations
  • 354 crews affected

Other Major Airlines

  • Up to 3 days to recover
  • Unhappy customers
  • Unhappy crews

Continental with CrewSolver

  • Less than 5 minutes to solve
  • Recovered by the next day
  • No crew complaints
  • Fewer reserves used

Continental was back to normal operations in record time

slide26

Case Study: The Reluctant Storm, March 2001

  • “The Reluctant Storm”
  • Saturday – “Biggest winter blast in 5 years”
  • Sunday – “Forecasters expect massive snowstorm”
  • Monday – “Tricky forecast for Philadelphia and New York”
  • Tuesday – “Expecting 3”-6” of snow in New York”

Continental’s CrewSolver

  • Ran scenarios Sunday night for Monday pre-cancellations
  • Able to wait from Noon until 7pm to modify flight schedule
  • Solved 141 flight cancellations affecting 500 crews in under 7 minutes
  • All crews rescheduled and notified by Tuesday morning
  • Solved again on Tuesday for new cancellations

Continental delayed recovery to minimize flight cancellations

slide27

Case Study: Tropical Storm Allison, June 2001

  • Tropical Storm Allison hits Houston June 7th thru June 9th
  • 32” of rain, winds up to 50 knots, Houston declared a disaster area
  • Houston hub accounts for 30% of total flight schedule operations
  • Major crew base for both Pilots and Flight Attendants
  • Corporate headquarters for Continental Airlines

Continental CrewSolver

  • Recovery one day at a time
  • Crews repaired daily < 13 minutes
  • Reserve usage minimized

Houston Hub

  • 749 cancellations / 3 days
  • 442 crews impacted
  • Lack of crews

Continental was able to continue system-wide operations

slide28

- Re-planned flight and crew schedule dozens of times

  • - Used OpsSolver to recover aircraft and flight schedule
  • Exported OpsSolver solution to CrewSolver to recover crew
  • pairings and schedules

Sept. 11-13

2001

  • - Reduced activity to 50-55% of scheduled flights using
  • OpsSolver
  • - 100% closure of DCA
  • Largest single CrewSolver scenario repaired 1600 pairings
  • in 17 minutes

Sept. 14-16

2001

Extended

Window

- Solved 20% scheduled reduction for the remainder of September

- Rescheduled all flight crews over a 14-day period

Case Study: 9/11/2001

Repaired 5861 pairings

Over a 2 week window

slide29

CrewSolver in Practice September 2001

% Delays of Major Airlines

60

50

40

Aided by CALEB’s recovery suite, Continental was able to recover faster than other airlines, reducing costs and lost revenue

30

20

10

0

9/11

9/12

9/13

9/14

9/15

9/16

9/17

9/18

9/19

slide30

A Word From Larry Kellner

President, Continental Airlines

slide31

Larry Kellner

President, Continental Airlines

slide33

System Value and Impact

  • CrewSolver is integrated into the daily operations of Continental Airlines
  • Better, more comprehensive recovery decisions with respect to aircraft, crew, maintenance, and passengers
  • Recovery solutions in minutes or seconds compared to hours or days for a manual recovery
  • Continental Airlines saves one to five million dollars for average major disruptions using the CrewSolver system
    • Fewer flight delays and cancellations due to crew unavailability
    • Reduced crew pay liability
    • Reduced hotel and per diem expenditures
    • Reduced passenger re-accommodation costs
    • Reduced usage of reserve crews