One of the world’s largest airlines


One of the world's largest airlines saw the opportunity to achieve operating profitability if it could upgrade core scheduling and crewing decisions based on state-of-the-art optimization.


Despite past investments of millions of dollars in IT systems, the airline's core planning systems heavily relied on human planners to solve problems in their heads and submit only select key decisions to the IT systems for validation and execution.

Princeton Consultants worked with senior operational managers and their appointed subject matter experts, as well as a dedicated in-house IT team, to design, develop and implement a multiphase project to dramatically improve the planning process with high-end custom optimization.


  • Big Data: Planning for pickup and delivery between 13,000 worldwide airports across 173 countries, with over 600 planes
  • Noisy Data: Variance and data cleaning in virtual all areas of data 
  • Stochastic: Variable transit times based on weather and potentials for grounding due to equipment failures
  • Human in the Loop: The system needs to provide recommendations to air and crew planners in a format they understand and accept
  • Real Time: In addition to advanced planning (1-2 days out), the system provides support for real-time day-of-execution service management, dispatching, and service recovery


The airline moved from unprofitable to profitable due to a 10% reduction in empty miles that saved in excess of $150 million dollars annually in jet fuel.

Subsequent phases have included:

  • Improve crewing assignments to increase both pilot utilization and satisfaction
  • Expansion of models to include more fleets of planes (formerly managed through other systems)
  • Development of better scheduling metrics and replacement of allegedly optimal schedules with more robust ones that held up better as daily operating conditions changed.