Dynamic aircraft recovery problem - An operational decision support framework

J. Vink, B. F. Santos*, W. J.C. Verhagen, I. Medeiros, R. Filho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents a new approach for solving the recovery of the airline schedule when disruptions have occurred. The goal is to develop an operational tool that provides the airline with a solution in less than one minute. The proposed recovery model uses a heuristic that iteratively solves selections of the airline's fleet in order to quickly converge to a good solution. An initial solution is always presented in seconds, after which potential reductions of disruption cost are investigated. The schedule is modeled as a set of parallel time-space networks, using an integer linear programming. The model is solved dynamically; a recovery solution is found whenever a disruption occurs and subsequent disruptions are solved based on the previously found solution. Aircraft maintenance schedules and passenger itineraries are modeled, while crew concerns are indirectly taken into consideration to avoid major disruptions caused by the recovery solution. The approach presented in this paper can be applied on heterogeneous fleets and to both point-to-point and (multi) hub-and-spoke airlines. The performance of the selection heuristic is discussed using a case study on the network of an airline operating in the United States. This case study shows that the selection heuristic can find a globally optimal solution in 90% of the disruption instances tested, within 22 s on average. This corresponds to 4% of the time needed to compute the optimal solution using the entire fleet.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104892
Number of pages15
JournalComputers and Operations Research
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.


  • Airline disruption management
  • Dynamic aircraft recovery
  • Irregular airline operations


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