The airport gate assignment problem (AGAP) is an important research area in air transportation planning and optimization. In this paper we study the airport gate assignment problem where the objectives are to minimize the number of ungated flights and the total walking distances. In order to solve the problem, we proposed a new tabu search (TS) algorithm which uses a probabilistic approach as an aspiration criterion. We compared two metaheuristics, namely, TS, and simulated annealing (SA). A greedy algorithm used as a benchmark. We compared the performances of the algorithms and analyzed at different problem sizes. Experimentations showed that the new proposed metaheuristic algorithm gave promising results. (C) 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.