Aircraft ground handling involves all services to an aircraft (e.g. passenger boarding/disembarking, re-fuelling, deicing) between its arrival and immediately following departure. The aircraft, parked at its stand, witnesses a number of service providers move around it to perform their duties. Inter-dependencies among service providers abound, and knock-on effects at disrupted times are rife. Coordination from the side of the airport operator is difficult.
The research team proposes a tactical robust scheme by which ground handlers and the airport operator cooperate, although indirectly, in the development of plans for the next day that are less likely to be impacted by at least the more frequent operational disruptions. The scheme is based on a simheuristic approach which integrates ad-hoc heuristics with a hybrid simulation model (agent-based/discrete-event).