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Metaheuristic algorithms for the simultaneous slot allocation problem


  • Paola Pellegrini

    () (IRIDIA-CoDE, Universite Libre de Bruxelles)

  • Lorenzo Castelli

    () (Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale e dell'Informazione, Università di Trieste)

  • Raffaele Pesenti

    () (Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia)


In this paper, we formalize the simultaneous slot allocation problem. It is an extension of the problem currently tackled for allocating airport slots: it deals with all airports simultaneously and it enforces the respect of airspace sector capacities. By solving this novel problem, the system may overcome some major inefficiencies that characterize the current slot allocation process. We tackle the simultaneous slot allocation problem with two algorithms based on metaheuristics, namely Iterated Local Search and Variable Neighborhood Search, and with an integer linear programming model: for each of these three algorithms, we allow a fixed computation time, and we take the best solution found during that time as the final solution. We compare these algorithms on randomly generated instances, and we show that, when small instances are to be tackled, metaheuristics are competitive with the exact model. When medium or large instances are to be tackled, the exact model suffers some major issues in terms of memory and computation time requirements. Metaheuristics, instead, can deal with very large instances, achieving very high quality results.

Suggested Citation

  • Paola Pellegrini & Lorenzo Castelli & Raffaele Pesenti, 2011. "Metaheuristic algorithms for the simultaneous slot allocation problem," Working Papers 9, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
  • Handle: RePEc:vnm:wpdman:9

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Verhoef, Erik T., 2010. "Congestion pricing, slot sales and slot trading in aviation," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 320-329, March.
    2. Starkie, David, 1998. "Allocating airport slots: a role for the market?," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 111-116.
    3. Lorenzo Castelli & Paola Pellegrini & Raffaele Pesenti, 2012. "Airport slot allocation in Europe: economic efficiency and fairness," International Journal of Revenue Management, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(1/2), pages 28-44.
    4. Pellegrini, Paola & Castelli, Lorenzo & Pesenti, Raffaele, 2012. "Secondary trading of airport slots as a combinatorial exchange," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(5), pages 1009-1022.
    5. S.J. Rassenti & V.L. Smith & R.L. Bulfin, 1982. "A Combinatorial Auction Mechanism for Airport Time Slot Allocation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 402-417, Autumn.
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    More about this item


    Air Traffic Management; Airport slot allocation; Metaheuristics; Integer linear programming;

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