ReMAP researcher, Paul van Kessel, rewarded at ‘World Class Maintenance’ Event

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‘Methodically neat work with high practical relevance. The combination of this digital framework and the human maintenance planner achieves the success’. These are the words the jury of the World Class Maintenance (WCM) recently pronounced at the WCM Research Awards ceremony to Paul van Kessel for his Master thesis. This award is given to the most innovative research in the Dutch maintenance sector. His research focusses on the maintenance scheduling process at KLM as part of ReMAP. Van Kessel: “This award is an important validation of the quality of the work of ReMAP.”

Continuous changes in maintenance schedules

“I capture the maintenance scheduling process for a fleet of aircraft into a model. Maintenance of aircraft is scheduled 6 years ahead. Within approximately 10 phases the scheduling is adapted to circumstances. Until the moment the maintenance is actually executed, maintenance schedules are continuously adjusted due to unanticipated maintenance or operational disruptions. This maintenance planning process is being done by hand by a maintenance planner. Optimization of maintenance schedules to decrease maintenance cost and increase operational availability has widely been addressed in literature. But up until now, research on airline maintenance scheduling did not include schedule flexibility and the occurrence of disruptions. The added value of my model is that I take these disruptions into account.”

Stability is key

“Create new maintenance schedules each time a disruption emerges is not practical, as stability is of key importance for operational reliability. This constantly ad hoc short term maintenance rescheduling, blurs the picture for the long term maintenance consequences, let alone how to improve this. Manual scheduling is currently limited to approximately 10 days. The solution I present extends this scheduling window to 120-days. These additional 110 days are crucial to identify problematic tasks up front and allow airlines to make a long term maintenance strategy.”

Support the maintenance planner

“The image exists that optimization and automatization of processes in aviation  always improve operational performance. But maintenance scheduling is a very specific area and requires highly qualified and well trained planners. Their expertise is to process an immense amount of information and understand its context, which is impossible to model, let alone be automated. However, we can provide the computational power for optimization to the scheduler for support and providing possible scenarios. With this we can combine the power of Big Data with the scheduler’s expertise.”

Test campaign in operational environment at KLM

“This unique model has been built and tested with historical operational data of KLM in 2019. It now runs with live data on the ReMAP-IT-platform. This maintenance schedule is adjusted every half hour. Due to security and safety reasons it operates standalone, but maintenance planners can view the results. They can share their expertise and their decisions given the context which we use as input for our model. We test and modify the tool until May 2022 when ReMAP ends, in this KLM operational environment. In the future this maintenance decision support tool will be presented in workshops to the KLM maintenance planners so we can discuss its possibilities in the future.”

Paul van Kessel graduated in 2020 at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of Delft University of Technology, supervised by Bruno Santos (TU Delft) and Floris Freeman (KLM). Paul van Kessel continues his ReMAP-work until the end of the project (May 2022).


An abstract of Paul van Kessel’s research is available here:
https://h2020-remap.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Airline-maintenance-task-rescheduling-in-a-disruptive-environment.pdf 


Paulo Rupino Cunha

Paulo Rupino Cunha

Assistant Professor of Information Systems with Habilitation and former head of the IS Group at the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra, Portugal. Director of Informatics and Systems Lab of Instituto Pedro Nunes (IPN), a non-profit association for Innovation and Technology Transfer.

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