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The ground handling operations represent the airside activities at airports in charge of
processing passengers, cargo, facilities and supplies at and around parked aircraft. Most of
these operations are performed by different service providers, using vehicles which are
specific to each type of operation.
Ground handling is not a prominent activity within the air transportation system (RHLG,
2000), however this activity is an important enabler for efficient airport operation and its
management is an important issue. Over the last decades, the complexity of ATS has
increased to face the worldwide growth of air traffic. Today the operation of this system
involves global actors (airports, airlines, air traffic control (ATC), air traffic management
(ATM)) as well as local actors (ground handlers, local suppliers…) whose coordination, while
pursuing different and sometimes contradictory objectives, is difficult to achieve. The main
objectives of traffic management at airports are to improve operational efficiency by reducing
aircraft delays, to optimize the use of airport resources to reduce operation costs and to
improve the predictability of air transportation operations (flight arrivals and departures).
So, to face the current situation with acceptable safety and efficiency standards a new concept
has been developed: Airport Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) which tries to create a
common ground for the different component of the ATS. This concept is based on an
improved communication between the different actors of the airport. As an example, for
Roissy-CDG airport, where CDM has been implemented since 2010, departure times are
respected in more than 85% of the cases, against 80% before, the ground traffic is more fluid
(taxiing times have been shortened by 2 to 4 minutes), a reduction of 14.5 tons of fuel in daily
consumption and also a significant decrease in CO2
emissions (The Boeing Company, 2000).
So far the management of the different service fleets which perform the turnaround process of
ground handling has not been considered specifically in the CDM approach, even if it has an
important part in the fluidity of aircraft ground movements, however (3 shows that 10% of
all the flight delays are caused by the inefficient management of the different fleet of the
ground handling operation.
This paper after identifying possible objectives and essential constraints for ground handling
at airports, proposes a decentralized structure to cope with this multi-fleet assignment
problem. Considering that many parameters are imperfectly known, the fuzzy modelling
formalism is introduced to take into account this important characteristic of this ground
handling multi-fleet (GHMF) problem. 

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