Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 274, Issue 1–2, pp 425–445 | Cite as

Aircraft selection modeling: a multi-step heuristic to enumerate airlift alternatives

  • Jacob D. Maywald
  • Adam D. Reiman
  • Robert E. OverstreetEmail author
  • Alan W. Johnson
Original Research


We consider the use of the new C-130J-30 aircraft for long distance (strategic) cargo movement. Currently, only large aircraft, the C-5 and the C-17, are identified as strategic airlift assets by the United States Air Force. Our mathematical model identifies all logical airframe combinations to perform a cargo movement given a set of constraints. Using previously developed routing algorithms and fuel metrics, we evaluated the combinations and calculated the potential savings had the most fuel efficient combination been selected. Analyzing 1 month of historic data for four long distance routes, our proposed model suggests that savings could have been more than one million dollars.


Air mobility planning Aircraft selection modeling Analysis of alternatives 


  1. Bayliss, C., Maere, G., Atkin, J., & Paelinck, M. (2017). A simulation scenario based mixed integer programming approach to airline reserve crew scheduling under uncertainty. Annals of Operations Research, 252(2), 335–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cook Jr, C. W. (1998). Integrating C-17 direct delivery airlift into traditional air force doctrine. (MS), Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Ohio.Google Scholar
  3. Gabteni, S., & Grönkvist, M. (2009). Combining column generation and constraint programming to solve the tail assignment problem. Annals of Operations Research, 171(1), 61–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Green, J. E. (2005). Air travel-greener by design. Mitigating the environmental impact of aviation: Opportunities and priorities. Aeronautical Journal, 109(1099), 361–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hahn, A. S. (2007). Staging airliner service. Paper presented at the 7th AIAA Aviation Technology. Hampton, VA: Integration and Operations Conference (ATIO).Google Scholar
  6. Lapp, M., & Wilkenhauser, F. (2012). Incorporating aircraft efficiency measures into the tail assignment problem. Journal of Air Transport Management, 19, 25–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Lau, H. C. W., Chan, T. M., Tsui, W. T., Ho, G. T. S., & Choy, K. L. (2009). An AI approach for optimizing multi-pallet loading operations. Expert Systems and Applications, 36, 4296–4312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Maywald, J. D. (2016). Reducing airlift inefficiency through aircraft selection modeling. (MS), Air Force Institute of Technology.Google Scholar
  9. Nangia, R. K. (2006). Operations and aircraft design towards greener civil aviation using air-to-air refuelling. Aeronautical Journal, 110(1113), 705–721.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Reiman, A. D. (2014). Enterprise Analysis of Strategic Airlift to Obtain Competitive Advantage through Fuel Efficiency. Ph.D. Thesis, Air Force Institute of Technology.Google Scholar
  11. Sinuany-Stern, Z., & Sherman, H. D. (2014). Operations research in the public sector and nonprofit organizations. Annals of Operations Research, 221(1), 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Toh, R. S., & Higgins, R. G. (1985). The impact of hub and spoke network centralization and route monopoly on domestic airline profitability. Transportation Journal, 24(4), 16–27.Google Scholar
  13. United States Air Force. (2014a). Annex 3–17 air mobility operations. Retrieved from
  14. United States Air Force. (2014b). C-5 A/B/C galaxy and C-5M super galaxy US air force fact sheet. Retrieved from
  15. United States Air Force. (2015a). Air force total ownership cost. Retrieved from https://www.aftoc/
  16. United States Air Force. (2015b). AMC unveils new generation command and control system. Retrieved from
  17. United States Air Force. (2015c). C-17 Globemaster III US air force fact sheet. Retrieved from

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Operational SciencesAir Force Institute of TechnologyWright Patterson AFBUSA
  2. 2.Department of Supply Chain and Information SystemsIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

Personalised recommendations