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Airline schedule planning: a review and future directions

Abdelrahman E.E. Eltoukhy (Department of Industrial and System Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong)
Felix T.S. Chan (Department of Industrial and System Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong)
S.H. Chung (Department of Industrial and System Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is twofold: first to carry out a comprehensive literature review for state of the art regarding airline schedule planning and second to identify some new research directions that might help academic researchers and practitioners.


The authors mainly focus on the research work appeared in the last three decades. The search process was conducted in database searches using four keywords: “Flight scheduling,” “Fleet assignment,” “Aircraft maintenance routing” (AMR), and “Crew scheduling”. Moreover, the combination of the keywords was used to find the integrated models. Any duplications due to database variety and the articles that were written in non-English language were discarded.


The authors studied 106 research papers and categorized them into five categories. In addition, according to the model features, subcategories were further identified. Moreover, after discussing up-to-date research work, the authors suggested some future directions in order to contribute to the existing literature.

Research limitations/implications

The presented categories and subcategories were based on the model characteristics rather than the model formulation and solution methodology that are commonly used in the literature. One advantage of this classification is that it might help scholars to deeply understand the main variation between the models. On the other hand, identifying future research opportunities should help academic researchers and practitioners to develop new models and improve the performance of the existing models.

Practical implications

This study proposed some considerations in order to enhance the efficiency of the schedule planning process practically, for example, using the dynamic Stackelberg game strategy for market competition in flight scheduling, considering re-fleeting mechanism under heterogeneous fleet for fleet assignment, and considering the stochastic departure and arrival times for AMR.


In the literature, all the review papers focused only on one category of the five categories. Then, this category was classified according to the model formulation and solution methodology. However, in this work, the authors attempted to propose a comprehensive review for all categories for the first time and develop new classifications for each category. The proposed classifications are hence novel and significant.



Eltoukhy, A.E.E., Chan, F.T.S. and Chung, S.H. (2017), "Airline schedule planning: a review and future directions", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 117 No. 6, pp. 1201-1243.



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