Robust Long-Term Aircraft Heavy Maintenance Check Scheduling Optimization under Uncertainty

Tim van der Weide, Q. Deng*, Bruno F. Santos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


Long-term heavy maintenance check schedules are crucial in the aviation industry since airlines need them to prepare the required maintenance tools, workforce, and aircraft spare parts. However, most airlines adopt a manual approach to plan the heavy maintenance check schedules in current practice. This manual process relies on the experience of their maintenance planners, and the resulting heavy maintenance schedules need frequent adjustment because of uncertainty. This paper applies a genetic algorithm (GA) to generate robust aircraft heavy maintenance check schedules. It aims to reduce the workload and the frequency of revising heavy maintenance schedules considering uncertainties associated with heavy maintenance check duration and aircraft daily utilization. A major European airline case study shows that the GA finds robust and efficient multi-year aircraft heavy maintenance schedules for a fleet of 45 aircraft in 30 minutes. Compared with the current approach followed by the airline, the algorithm reduces the total number of heavy maintenance checks by 7% while increasing utilization by 4.4%, which could potentially lead to a reduction of direct annual maintenance costs between $122.5K and $612.5K. Furthermore, when testing the robustness of the 4-years maintenance check schedules produced, a Monte Carlo analysis has shown that all aircraft could be maintained before their check due date for 41% of the episodes simulated, compared to 0.27% of the episodes for the single deterministic scenario approach.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105667
Number of pages37
JournalComputers & Operations Research
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Aircraft maintenance
  • Genetic algorithm
  • Min–max optimization
  • Robustness optimization
  • Scheduling


Dive into the research topics of 'Robust Long-Term Aircraft Heavy Maintenance Check Scheduling Optimization under Uncertainty'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this