This paper presents a model for planning an air charter service for pre-scheduled group travel. This model is used to investigate the competitiveness of such an enterprise for student athlete travel in conference sports. The relevant demand subset to be served by a limited charter fleet is identified through a comparison with existing scheduled travel options. Further, the routing and scheduling of the charter aircraft is performed within the same framework. Through this modeling a method for formulating and accommodating continuous time windows and competitive market dynamics in strategic planning for a charter service is developed. Computational improvements to the basic model are also presented and tested. The model is applied to the Big Sky Conference for the 2006–2007 season, quantifying the benefits to the students from such a service and the change in expenditure associated with such a benefit for various assumptions about operations and value of time. The findings indicate the lack of spatial or sport based patterns for maximizing benefit, indicating the absence of simplistic “rules of thumb” for operating such a service, and validating the need for the model.
Gautam Gupta, Anne Goodchild, and Mark Hansen (2011). A Competitive, Charter Air-Service Planning Model for Student Athlete Travel. Transportation Research Part B, 45, 128-149.