Air transport liberalization has created an environment of fierce competition among air carriers regarding the destinations, in contrast to commercially unattractive remote areas, including many of the Greek islands.

Acknowledging the high geopolitical and social importance of retaining the air connection of peripheral nodes with central hubs, European Commission issued the Public Service Obligation (PSO) Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 which provides authorized air carriers with monopoly privileges and subsidies in order to maintain specific air routes falling under the PSO regime. 28 such routes are currently active in Greece, 26 of them serving island destinations.

Three air carriers (namely Olympic Air, Sky Express and Astra Airlines) serve the Greek air PSO network. The operational schedules of the above carriers are designed independently, based in three main criteria: eet assignment, aircraft maintenance routing and crew scheduling. This fragmented situation doesn’t take provisions for the needs of the local communities often leading to overlapping services and long delays. Therefore, the need for redesigning the entire scheduling of the Greek islands PSO air network, creating an integrated synchromodal transport system is profound.

The aim of the proposed project is the creation of an air-passengers flow optimization model, able to balance the demands and limitations of the main stakeholder groups (passengers, air carriers, airports, local communities, regulatory authorities). Fuzzy networks methodology, especially the Benders and the Magnanti-Wong algorithms will be used to build the optimization model.

The final deliverable of this project will be a decision making tool which will be to the benefit of all major stakeholders: passengers and local communities will enjoy better air services, air carriers will increase productivity by creating economies of scale and density and regulatory authorities will safeguard that the strategic aim of the PSO policy (that is, the increase in connectivity and cohesion of European peripheral areas) has been achieved.