An analysis of constructive algorithms for the airport baggage sorting station assignment problem
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The assignment of airport resources can significantly affect the quality of service provided by airlines and airports. High quality assignments can support airlines and airports in adhering to published schedules by minimising changes or delays while waiting for resources to become available. In this paper, we consider the problem of assigning available baggage sorting stations to flights which have already been scheduled and allocated to stands. A model for the problem is presented, and the different objectives which have to be considered are highlighted. A number of constructive algorithms for sorting station assignments are then presented and their effects are compared and analysed when different numbers of sorting stations are available. It can be observed that appropriate algorithm selection is highly dependent upon whether or not reductions in service time are permitted and upon the flight density in relation to the number of sorting stations. Finally, since these constructive approaches produce different solutions which are better for different trade-offs of the objectives, we utilise these as initial solutions for an evolutionary algorithm as well as for an Integer Linear Programming model in CPLEX. We show that in both cases they are helpful for improving the results which are obtainable within reasonable solution times.
KeywordsAirport baggage sorting stations Scheduling Heuristics Constructive algorithms Greedy algorithms
We are grateful to NATS and EPSRC for providing funding for this project, and especially John Greenwood (NATS) for his strong support.
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