InterJournal Complex Systems, 396
Status: Accepted
Manuscript Number: [396]
Submission Date: 515
An Agent-Based Model of the Airline Industry
Author(s): William Niedringhaus

Subject(s): CX.06, CX.14, CX.44

Category: Article


The Air Carrier Service Evolution Model (ACSEM) is an agent-based model that explores the evolution of the airline industry and its interactions with the National Airspace System (NAS). ACSEM models airline decisions such as (1) fleet mix-what types of airplanes to purchase/lease; (2) markets-what airports to serve and whether and where to establish hubs; (3) schedules-what arrival/departure times to set for each aircraft at each airport visited; (4) fares-what prices to set for leisure and business passengers; and (5) responses to delays, congestion and missed connections. ACSEM also models decisions by the FAA or individual airports, related to (6) airport hourly capacities and possible reductions imposed due to weather or congestion and (7) en-route capacities and possible restrictions. Because these factors both affect and are affected by each other, understanding their complex interaction is beyond the ability of traditional modeling tools and has not been attempted until now. The main source of difficulty is the entangled web of interactions with multiple feedback loops. With agent-based modeling, it becomes feasible to build a model such as ACSEM to address aspects of airline/NAS evolution. The presentation features some early results obtained by ACSEM, initialized with a scenario of 1668 aircraft flown recently in the Northeast US, and illustrates how certain complex behaviors emerge. The conclusion indicates ways in which the results may some day lead to improvements in the NAS that facilitate air travel and NAS operations.

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