Notice and Invitation
Oral Defense of Doctoral Dissertation
The Volgenau School of Engineering, George Mason University 

Abdul Qadar Kara
Bachelor of Science, Mohammad Ali Jinnah University, 2002
Master of Science, Universitaet des Saarlandes, 2004

A Congestion Pricing Model to Handle "Day of Operations" Airport Capacity Reductions due to Inclement Weather 
Thursday, July 28, 2011, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Nguyen Engineering Bldg., Room 4801
All are invited to attend. 


Karla Hoffman,Chair
George Donohue
Lance Sherry
Dana Richards


The Airline Industry in the United States is one of the major transportation alternatives for the US.  It is a highly connected network used by over 712.6 million people in 2010 and is the most common means of travel for origin-destination pairs of greater than 250 miles. This has forced the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to consider solutions to relieve this congestion and to provide alternate solutions to the current system that has not been able to resolve this issue.

Recently researchers have been investigating market-clearing mechanisms such as congestion pricing to relieve short term congestion effectively. In such a price-based system, prices are announced for the scarce resources (e.g., runway access) and the users respond by either paying the announced price or opting out and either delaying or canceling the flight. Thus, by charging airlines to use the scarce runway access, the aim is to provide service to those who value it the most. For Ground Transportation, congestion pricing currently has been successfully implemented in several sectors.

This research proposes a system that implements the basic theory of congestion pricing and uses actual recorded operating costs of airlines to determine which airlines will (i) likely pay the price announced and fly, (ii) choose to delay the flight and eventually fly the flight in a less-congested time period, or (iii) cancel the flight.  The research provides a new mechanism for calculating airline costs of delay as well as a mechanism for setting the congestion prices.

The results of imposing congestion prices are compared to other suggested rationing schemes to see the impact on airline costs, passenger throughput and passenger delay.  The two alternative schemes chosen are Ration-by-Schedule (currently used by Air Traffic Management) and Ration-by-Distance (an approach that better reflects the airline's wish to fly their longest, most profitable flights).

A copy of this doctoral dissertation is on reserve at the Johnson Center Library.