Aircraft line maintenance scheduling and optimisationRevista : Journal of Air Transport Management
Volumen : 89
Páginas : 101914
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación
With the advent of new technologies and more modern aircraft, many of the maintenance jobs traditionally scheduled for periodic block checks can now be performed in the line maintenance environment, i.e., during layovers between scheduled flights of an aircraft. This flexibility can be exploited to reduce maintenance costs and improve fleet utilisation of an airline. In this paper we introduce and study the Line Maintenance Scheduling Problem (LMSP). The LMSP assigns jobs to available maintenance opportunities, defined by aircraft routes, and sets the starting time for each job. Its objective is to minimise the deviation from this schedule with respect to given due dates for each task, without exceeding resource capacity at the airports at any moment. We formulate the LMSP as a mixed integer programming problem, and describe and compare two solution approaches for this problem: an integrated exact solution algorithm, which solves job assignment and timetabling simultaneously, and a sequential, heuristic approach. We tested our algorithms on a set of instances inspired on data provided by an industry partner. Our experiments show the applicability of both approaches on realistic settings: the exact approach was able to find the optimal solution for all instances, in less than 10 min on average. Our analysis also shows with an example that line maintenance can be more efficient when capacity is spatially spread, even if the total capacity is reduced.