Heuristic approaches for operational aircraft maintenance routing problem with maximum flying hours and man-power availability considerations

Abdelrahman E.E. Eltoukhy, Tung Sun Chan, Sai Ho Chung, Ben Niu, X. P. Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, to propose an operational model for aircraft maintenance routing problem (AMRP) rather than tactical models that are commonly used in the literature. Second, to develop a fast and responsive solution method in order to cope with the frequent changes experienced in the airline industry. Design/methodology/approach – Two important operational considerations were considered, simultaneously. First one is the maximum flying hours, and second one is the man-power availability. On the other hand, ant colony optimization (ACO), simulated annealing (SA), and genetic algorithm (GA) approaches were proposed to solve the model, and the upper bound was calculated to be the criteria to assess the performance of each meta-heuristic. After attempting to solve the model by these meta-heuristics, the authors noticed further improvement chances in terms of solution quality and computational time. Therefore, a new solution algorithm was proposed, and its performance was validated based on 12 real data from the EgyptAir carrier. Also, the model and experiments were extended to test the effect of the operational considerations on the profit. Findings – The computational results showed that the proposed solution algorithm outperforms other meta-heuristics in finding a better solution in much less time, whereas the operational considerations improve the profitability of the existing model. Research limitations/implications – The authors focused on some operational considerations rather than tactical considerations that are commonly used in the literature. One advantage of this is that it improves the profitability of the existing models. On the other hand, identifying future research opportunities should help academic researchers to develop new models and improve the performance of the existing models. Practical implications – The experiment results showed that the proposed model and solution methods are scalable and can thus be adopted by the airline industry at large. Originality/value – In the literature, AMRP models were cast with approximated assumption regarding the maintenance issue, while neglecting the man-power availability consideration. However, in this paper, the authors attempted to relax that maintenance assumption, and consider the man-power availability constraints. Since the result showed that these considerations improve the profitability by 5.63 percent in the largest case. The proposed operational considerations are hence significant. Also, the authors utilized ACO, SA, and GA to solve the model for the first time, and developed a new solution algorithm. The value and significance of the new algorithm appeared as follow. First, the solution quality was improved since the average improvement ratio over ACO, SA, and GA goes up to 8.30, 4.45, and 4.00 percent, respectively. Second, the computational time was significantly improved since it does not go beyond 3 seconds in all the 12 real cases, which is considered much lesser compared to ACO, SA, and GA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2142-2170
Number of pages29
JournalIndustrial Management and Data Systems
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Aircraft maintenance routing problem
  • Ant colony optimization
  • Genetic algorithm
  • Simulated annealing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Industrial relations
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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