Adaptive reinforcement learning for task scheduling in aircraft maintenance

Catarina Silva, Pedro Andrade, Bernardete Ribeiro, Bruno F Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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This paper proposes using reinforcement learning (RL) to schedule maintenance tasks, which can significantly reduce direct operating costs for airlines. The approach consists of a static algorithm for long-term scheduling and an adaptive algorithm for rescheduling based on new maintenance information. To assess the performance of both approaches, three key performance indicators (KPIs) are defined: Ground Time, representing the hours an aircraft spends on the ground; Time Slack, measuring the proximity of tasks to their due dates; and Change Score, quantifying the similarity level between initial and adapted maintenance plans when new information surfaces. The results demonstrate the efficacy of RL in producing efficient maintenance plans, with the algorithms complementing each other to form a solid foundation for routine tasks and real-time responsiveness to new information. While the static algorithm performs slightly better in terms of Ground Time and Time Slack, the adaptive algorithm excels overwhelmingly in terms of Change Score, offering greater flexibility in handling new maintenance information. The proposed RL-based approach can improve the efficiency of aircraft maintenance and has the potential for further research in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16605
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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