Title page for ETD etd-11222010-082117

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Shen, Ni
Author's Email Address NolaShen@gmail.com
URN etd-11222010-082117
Title Modeling of Airline and Passenger Dynamics in the National Airspace System (NAS)
Degree PhD
Department Civil Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Baik, Hojong Committee Co-Chair
Trani, Antoino A. Committee Co-Chair
Abbas, Montasir M. Committee Member
Flintsch, Gerardo W. Committee Member
Pasupathy, Raghu Committee Member
  • multi-airport system
  • domestic leg of international passengers
  • air travel demand
  • Agent-based model
Date of Defense 2010-08-27
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation is a collection of several models to understand airline and passenger dynamics in the National Airspace System (NAS).

Agent-based modeling is one of the most widely used modeling simulation-analysis approaches to understanding the dynamic behavior of complex systems. The usefulness of agent-based modeling has been demonstrated by simulating the complex interactions between airlines, travelers, and airports of a small-scale transportation system. Three airlines, one low cost and two network airlines are simulated to examine how each airline behaves over time to maximize their profit margins for a given passenger demand and operation cost structure. Passenger mode choice and itinerary choice sub modules are embedded in the framework to characterize traveler agent’s response to the evolved airline schedule. An airport delay model was implemented to estimate the average delay at each airport. The estimated delay fed into the mode choice and itinerary choice models to update the travel time related variables.

International passenger demand is a very important component of the air transportation system in the United States. The proportion of international enplanements relative to total enplanements increased from 8% in 1990 to 11% in 2008. Nine linear regression models are developed to forecast the enplanements from the United States to each of nine international regions. The international enplanements from the CONUS to each world region are modeled as a function of GDP and GDP per capita of both the United States and the specific region. A dummy variable is also used to account for the effects of September 11, 2001. The total number of international enplanements is forecast to increase from 74.7 million in 2008 to 184.4 million in 2028. The average annual growth rate is expected to be 4.7%.

The European Union – United States Open Skies Agreement, which became effective March 30, 2008. Mathematical models are developed to forecast the effect of EU-US Open Skies Agreement on commercial airline passenger traffic over the North Atlantic Ocean. Nine econometric models were developed to forecast passenger traffic between the United States and nine selected European countries between 2008 through 2020. 68 new nonstop flights between the United States airports and the European airports are predicted by the model in 2020 using the airport pair passenger demand forecast. London, Heathrow is demonstrated as an example for rerouting the excess air travel passengers from one airport to other airports when the airport operational capacity is exceeded.

The proportion of international enplanements relative to total enplanements within CONUS increased from 8% in 1990 to 11% in 2008. 51% of the sampled international and U.S. territories passengers served by U.S. carriers had at least one domestic coupon in 2007. The number of DOI passengers through airport-pairs in each of the historical years (1990-2007) is estimated based on the adjusted 100% international itineraries including pure international itineraries plus the non-CONUS itineraries. The total number of DOI enplanements is estimated to grow from 37.3 million in 1990 to 79.4 million in 2007. 193 CONUS airports are estimated to have at least 10,000 DOI enplanements in 2007. The number of DOI enplanements is forecast to grow from 79.4 million in 2007 to 206.2 million in 2030 with average growth rate of 4.2% per year.

In recent years, there has been an increasing use of secondary airports both in Europe and the U.S. Regional airports have long been considered as a possible source of relief to reduce airport congestion at the hub airport and to efficiently accommodate future air travel demand. The conditions under which the secondary airports develop in a metropolitan area are examined. Fifteen multi-airport systems including 19 Operational Evolution Plan airports and 25 active secondary airports are identified in the National Airspace System. Diverse trends of traffic distribution among airports in the same metropolitan area are observed. We observed that the number of markets served at the secondary airports is less than that at the primary airport in the same metropolitan area. Most of the secondary airports are currently dominated by the low-cost carriers. The share of seats supplied by the low-cost carriers at the secondary airports has increased during the period 1990-2008. Full service carriers concentrate their service mainly on the primary airport in all the multi-airport systems analyzed. The average seat capacity per aircraft at the secondary airports is higher than that of primary airports in most of the multi-airport systems. The secondary airports mainly serve the domestic O&D passengers.

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