The impact of climate change on the recoverability of airline networks
This paper studies the impact of climate change-imposed constraints on the recoverability of airline networks. We first use models that capture the modified payload-range curves for different aircraft types under multiple climate change scenarios, and the associated (reduced) aircraft capacities. We next construct a modeling and algorithmic framework that allows for simultaneous and integrated aircraft and passenger recovery that explicitly capture the above-mentioned capacity changes in aircraft at different times of day. The results, based on the RCP8.5 climate change scenario, suggest that daily total airline recovery costs increase on average by 15.7% to 49.4%; and by 10.6% to 165.0% over individual disrupted days – depending on the original source of disruption, the climate change case of interest and year of interest. Aircraft-related costs are driven by a huge increase in aircraft swaps and cancellations; and passenger-related costs are driven by increases in disrupted (misconnected) passengers who need to be rebooked on the same or a different airline. This work motivates the critical need for airlines to systematically incorporate climate change as a factor in the design of aircraft as well as in the design and operations of airline networks.