The crew pairing problem (CPP) deals with generating crew pairings due to law and restrictions and selecting a set of crew pairings with minimal cost that covers all the flight legs. In this study, we present three different algorithms to solve CPP. The knowledge based random algorithm (KBRA) and the hybrid algorithm (HA) both combine heuristics and exact methods. While KBRA generates a reduced solution space by using the knowledge received from the past, HA starts to generate a reduced search space including high quality legal pairings by using some mechanisms in components of genetic algorithm (GA). Zero-one integer programming model of the set covering problem (SCP) which is an NP-hard problem is then used to select the minimal cost pairings among solutions in the reduced search space. Column generation (CG) which is the most commonly used technique in the CPP literature is used as the third solution technique. While the master problem is formulated as SCP, legal pairings are generated in the pricing problem by solving a shortest path problem on a structured network. In addition, the performance of CG integrated by KBRA (CG_KBRA) and HA (CG_HA) is investigated on randomly generated test problems. Computational results show that HA and CG_HA can be considered as effective and efficient solution algorithms for solving CPP in terms of the computational cost and solution quality. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.