Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 258, Issue 2, pp 825–848 | Cite as

A multi-start randomized heuristic for real-life crew rostering problems in airlines with work-balancing goals

  • Jesica de Armas
  • Luis Cadarso
  • Angel A. Juan
  • Javier Faulin
S.I.: CLAIO 2014


This paper proposes a multi-start randomized heuristic for solving real-life crew rostering problems in airlines. The paper describes realistic constrains, regulations, and rules that have not been considered in the literature so far. Our algorithm is designed to provide quality solutions satisfying these real-life specifications while, at the same time, it aims at balancing the workload distribution among the different crewmembers. Thus, our approach promotes corporate social responsibility by distributing the workload in a fair way and avoiding that some crewmembers get unnecessarily overstressed. Despite its importance in real-life applications, these aspects have seldom been considered in the crew scheduling literature, where most solving approaches refer to simplified models and are tested on non-realistic benchmarks. The experimental tests show that our algorithm is capable of generating feasible quality solutions to real-life crew rostering problems in just a few seconds. These times are orders of magnitude lower than the times currently employed by some airlines to obtain a single feasible solution, since the ‘optimal’ solutions provided by most commercial software usually require additional adjustments in order to meet all the real-life specifications.


Air transportation Crew rostering problem Randomized heuristics 



This work has been partially supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (TRA2013-48180-C3-P, TRA2015-71883-REDT), FEDER, and the Ibero-American Program for Science and Technology for Development (CYTED2014-515RT0489). Likewise we want to acknowledge the support received by the Department of Universities, Research & Information Society of the Catalan Government (2014-CTP-00001) and the CAN Foundation in Navarre, Spain (CAN2015-3963).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesica de Armas
    • 1
  • Luis Cadarso
    • 2
  • Angel A. Juan
    • 1
  • Javier Faulin
    • 3
  1. 1.Computer Science, Multimedia, and Telecommunication DepartmentOpen University of Catalonia – IN3BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.European Institute for Aviation Training and Accreditation (EIATA)Rey Juan Carlos UniversityFuenlabradaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Statistics and Operations ResearchCampus Arrosadia - Public University of NavarrePamplonaSpain

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