A practical dynamic programming based methodology for aircraft maintenance check scheduling optimization

Qichen Deng*, Bruno F. Santos, Richard Curran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)
149 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents a practical dynamic programming based methodology to optimize the long-term maintenance check schedule for a fleet of heterogeneous aircraft. It is the first time that the long-term aircraft maintenance check schedule is optimized, integrating different check types in a single schedule solution. The proposed methodology aims at minimizing the wasted interval between checks. By achieving this goal, one is also reducing the number of checks over time, increasing aircraft availability and, therefore, reducing maintenance costs, while respecting safety regulations. The model formulation takes aircraft type, status, maintenance capacity, and other operational constraints into consideration. We also validate and demonstrate the proposed methodology using fleet maintenance data from a European airline. The outcomes show that, when compared with the current practice, the number of maintenance checks can be reduced by around 7% over a period of 4 years, while computation time is less than 15 minutes. This could result in saving worth $1.1M–$3.4M in maintenance costs for a fleet of about 40 aircraft and generating more than $9.8M of revenue due to higher aircraft availability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-273
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Aircraft maintenance
  • Dynamic programming
  • Forward induction
  • Scheduling


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