Amadeus takes home hardware at AGIFORS 54th Annual Symposium in Dubai

Umit Cholak

Vice President, Revenue Optimization, Airlines Solutions, Amadeus IT Group

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The AGIFORS 54th Annual Symposium, hosted by Emirates in Dubai, showcased the latest innovations in airline operations research and we are very happy to come home with two of the three available awards.


Thomas Fiig, Chief Scientist, earned the best technical presentation award for his paper on ‘Demand forecasting and measuring forecast accuracy in general fare structures’ which appears in the Palgrave Macmillan Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management. Thomas’ paper presents a forecasting methodology that enables forecasting in general fare structures, including restricted, semi-restricted, unrestricted and fare families. This forecasting model is a core component of Altea O&D RMSthat will be put in production next year.

Rodrigo Acuna-Agost and Valentin Weber, both from Amadeus Innovation and Research & Development, earned the best overall presentation award for their paper entitled ‘Human versus machine - the story of a schedule recovery benchmark’, which presents an unconventional approach to Schedule Recovery optimisation that mixes academic methodology with a hands-on understanding of the business problem to show how the development of new approaches can outperform more traditional operations research approaches.

Additionally, the presentation delivered by Katharina Nickel of M2P, Grant Winter of Emirates Airlines, and Dave Milner of Dubai Airport on ‘The Importance of Optimal Stand Allocation for Airlines’ was of special interest to Amadeus attendees due to our leadership position in this area with our airport ITsolution portfolio.

Amadeus was represented on the prestigious Anna Valicek Medal selection panel by Benoit Lardeux, Israel Herraiz, and Valentin Weber with coordination by Semi Gabteni, who was also nominated as the Symposium Technical Director. The award, which is bestowed upon registered graduate students, ‘recognises original and innovative research in the application of operations research to airline and/or airline related business problems’ and was won by Virginie Lurkin, University of Liege, for her paper entitled ‘The Airline Container Loading Problem with Pickup and Delivery’ which extends our flight management  container loading model with minimisation of pick-up and delivery operations for multi-leg flights in addition to weight and balance optimization. Runner up for the award was Yi Zhang, Georgia Tech, for her paper on Choice Based Revenue Management for Parallel Flights which has emerged as the approach to capturing customer behaviour.

Finally, one big take away from the event was the confirmed emergence of business intelligence as an instrumental complement to decisional models for best-of-breed decision making, which had numerous related talks.

The five day event, which brings together representatives from across airline industry and academia, is held annually and features discussion on airline operations, airline strategy, cargo logistics, crew scheduling, e-commerce, information technology, operations research management, revenue management, robust planning, and scheduling planning.

Visit the AGIFORS website for more about this annual symposium and the society itself. We are already looking forward to next year’s events.