This article is part of the Topical Collection on Accessibility and Policy Making
This paper presents a review, classification schemes, critique, a simple meta-analysis and future research implication of fuel consumption optimization (FCO) literature in the air transport sector. This review is based on 277 articles published in various publication outlets between 1973 and 2014.
A review of 277 articles related to the FCO in air transport was carried out. It provides an academic database of literature between the periods of 1973– 2014 covering 69 journals and proposes a classification scheme to classify the articles. Twelve hundred of articles were identified and reviewed for their direct relevance to the FCO in air transport. Two hundred seventy seven articles were subsequently selected, reviewed and classified. Each of the 277 selected articles was categorized on four FCO dimensions (Aircraft technology & design, aviation operations & infrastructure, socioeconomic & policy measures, and alternate fuels & fuel properties). The articles were further classified into six categories of FCO research methodologies (analytical - conceptual, mathematical, statistical, and empirical- experimental, statistical, and case studies) and optimization techniques (linear programming, mixed integer programming, dynamic programming, gradient based algorithms, simulation modeling, and nature based algorithms). In addition, a simple meta-analysis was also carried out to enhance understanding of the development and evolution of research in the FCO.
Findings and conclusions
This has resulted in the identification of 277 articles from 69 journals by year of publication, journal, and topic area based on the two classification schemes related to FCO research, published between, 1973 to December- 2014. In addition, the study has identified the 4 dimensions and 98 decision variables affecting the fuel consumption. Also, this study has explained the six categories of FCO research methodologies (analytical - conceptual, mathematical, statistical, and empirical-experimental, statistical, and case studies) and optimization techniques (linear programming, mixed integer programming, dynamic programming, gradient based algorithms, simulation modeling, and nature based algorithms). The findings of this study indicate that the analytical-mathematical research methodologies represent the 47 % of FCO research. The results show that there is an increasing trend in research of the FCO. It is observed that the number of published articles between the period 1973 and 2000 is less (90 articles), so we can say that there are 187 articles which appeared in various journals and other publication sources in the area of FCO since 2000. Furthermore there is increased trend in research on FCO from 2000 onward. This is due to the fact that continuously new researchers are commencing their research activities in FCO research. This shows clearly that FCO research is a current research area among many research groups across the world. Lastly, the prices of jet fuel have significantly increased since the 2005. The aviation sector’s fuel efficiency improvements have slowed down since the 1970s–1980s due to the slower pace of technological development in engine and aerodynamic designs and airframe materials.
We conclude that FCO models need to address the composite fuel consumption problem by extending models to include all the dimensions, i.e. aircraft technology & design, aviation operations & infrastructure, socioeconomic & policy measures, and alternative fuels & fuel properties. FCO models typically comprise all the four dimensions and this reality need to be taken into account in global FCO models. In addition, these models should have objectives or constraints to evaluate the aircraft sizes according to market structure, impact of various policy measures on fuel burn, and near term potential alternative fuel options in the global FCO problem. In the models reviewed, we evaluated that, only the few authors considered these factors. The literature identifies 98 decision variables affecting the fuel consumption related to various dimensions in air transport. So we can conclude that this analysis could represent the informational framework for FCO research in air transport.
Our analysis provides a roadmap to guide future research and facilitate knowledge accumulation and creation concerning the application of optimization techniques in fuel consumption of air transport. The addressed dimensions & decision variables could be of potential value to future researchers on the aviation fuel consumption optimization research and is also capable of further refinements. In future, for fuel consumption optimization the explored decision variables could be checked for their reliability and validity and a statistically significant model with minimum number of decision variable could be developed. Further, on the basis of this statistical significant model and with the best market requirement for transport aircraft, the researchers can frame the objective function for fuel consumption minimization problem & decide their dependent variables, independent variables, constant, and constraints. Furthermore, this study will also provide the base for fuel conservation, energy efficiency, and emission reduction in the aviation sector.