Kristen Lester, Albert Harrison, and Bill Noel, students in the M.S. in Applied Mathematics program, will present their operations research project, “Developing Efficient Airplane Boarding Strategies,” at the Allegheny Mountain Section of the Mathematical Association of America meeting on April 8, 2011, at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

Minimizing airplane turnaround time is an important objective of airline companies since it is used as a measure of airline efficiency. Passenger boarding time is an important factor for determining turnaround time. This is the factor for which airlines have the least control.

The focus of our study is to determine a way to decrease passenger boarding times by expanding upon past studies [1]. Using similar methods as the authors of [1], passenger and aisle interferences during airplane boarding were studied. It was determined that an outside-inside boarding strategy is the most efficient way to board the airplane. This differs from the results determined by [1], which suggests a reverse pyramid strategy. The difference in these results was attributed in part to the different usage of aisle interference penalties in the model.

[1] van den Briel, M. L., Villalobos, J. R., Hogg, G. L., Lindemann, T., & Mule, A. V. (2005). America West Airlines Develops Efficient Boarding Strategies. Interfaces, 35(3), 191-201.

Department of Mathematics