, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 139–157 | Cite as

A large neighbourhood search heuristic for the aircraft and passenger recovery problem

  • Serge Bisaillon
  • Jean-François Cordeau
  • Gilbert Laporte
  • Federico Pasin
Research Paper


This paper introduces a large neighbourhood search heuristic for an airline recovery problem combining fleet assignment, aircraft routing and passenger assignment. Given an initial schedule, a list of disruptions, and a recovery period, the problem consists in constructing aircraft routes and passenger itineraries for the recovery period that allow the resumption of regular operations and minimize operating costs and impacts on passengers. The heuristic alternates between construction, repair and improvement phases, which iteratively destroy and repair parts of the solution. The aim of the first two phases is to produce an initial solution that satisfies a set of operational and functional constraints. The third phase then attempts to identify an improved solution by considering large schedule changes while retaining feasibility. The whole process is iterated by including some randomness in the construction phase so as to diversify the search. This work was initiated in the context of the 2009 ROADEF Challenge, a competition organized jointly by the French Operational Research and Decision Analysis Society and the Spanish firm Amadeus S.A.S., in which our team won the first prize.


Airline recovery Fleet assignment Aircraft routing Passenger itineraries Large neighbourhood search 

MSC classification (2000)



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Serge Bisaillon
    • 1
  • Jean-François Cordeau
    • 2
  • Gilbert Laporte
    • 2
  • Federico Pasin
    • 3
  1. 1.Université de Montréal and CIRRELTMontrealCanada
  2. 2.HEC Montréal and CIRRELTMontrealCanada
  3. 3.HEC MontréalMontrealCanada

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