Aircraft rotable inventory optimisation: development of a new solution

  • Michael MacDonnell

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Analysis of the use of ICT in the aerospace industry has prompted the detailed investigation of an inventory-planning problem. There is a special class of inventory, consisting of expensive repairable spares for use in support of aircraft operations. These items, called rotables, are not well served by conventional theory and systems for inventory management.
The context of the problem, the aircraft maintenance industry sector, is described in order to convey some of its special characteristics in the context of operations management.
A literature review is carried out to seek existing theory that can be applied to rotable inventory and to identify a potential gap into which newly developed theory could contribute.
Current techniques for rotable planning are identified in industry and the
literature: these methods are modelled and tested using inventory and
operational data obtained in the field.
In the expectation that current practice leaves much scope for improvement, several new models are proposed. These are developed and tested on the field data for comparison with current practice.
The new models are revised following testing to give improved versions. The best model developed and tested here comprises a linear programming optimisation, which finds an optimal level of inventory for multiple test cases, reflecting changing operating conditions.
The new model offers an inventory plan that is up to 40% less expensive
than that determined by current practice, while maintaining required
Date of AwardOct 2008
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorDouglas M Love (Supervisor) & Ben Clegg (Supervisor)


  • repairable spares management
  • operations research

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