Diving deep into Airline Operations Research

Jean-Michel Sauvage

Head of Revenue Management Solutions Research & Development, Amadeus IT Group

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Amadeus recently participated in the AGIFORS Revenue Management and Strategic & Schedule Planning Study Groups, held in Miami this May which was hosted by American Airlines. We also attended the Airline Operations study group in Frankfurt this June, hosted by Lufthansa. During these events, Amadeus delivered technical presentations and lectures to aviation experts in the areas of revenue management, scheduling, booking data analytics and airport runway sequencing.

airplane in the sky


So what exactly is Operations Research and who is AGIFORS?

According to Wikipedia, Operations Research (OR) is 'a discipline that deals with the application of advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions. AGIFORS (Airline Group of theInternational Federation of Operations Research Societies)is the professional society, dedicated to the advancement and application of OR within the airline industry. Each year, AGIFORS organises several study groups addressing specific areas within the airline business.  In Miami, the focus was on Revenue Management and Schedule Planning, and in Frankfurt, the topics were Crew Management and Airline Operations.

What were the key topics at the RM and SSP meeting?

  • Ancillaries - looking specifically at how airlines can anticipate demand, with the underlying need for a flexible IT.
  • Management of price sensitive passengers and customer choice models.
  • Integration of schedule planning and revenue management practices.

What were the highlights of the Ops meeting?

  • Disruption and diversion management, where situational awareness through proper data gathering and visualisation helps airline alignment in disruption handling.
  • Aircraft dispatch or Tail Assignment, which can lead to significant fuel savings, and  initiatives to develop and implement aircraft and schedule recovery optimisation engines.
  • Identification that airline mergers and alliances need to leverage partners' inventory for passenger re-accommodation purposes.
  • Managingenvironmental changes. This included: regulations related to flight operations and passenger right protection, as well as the role of social media as a significant channel used by passengers,airlines, & authorities in disruption context.

Were there some common trends or issues discussed across the study groups?

  • Data analysis and Big Data were THE common topics across the meetings, whether to anticipate disruptions, find the root causes of disruption, or understand shopping behaviour. This knowledge can then be factored in decision-making models for more precise recommendations.

The study groups present an excellent opportunity to review the most pressing issues and discuss potential solutions for airline operations, planning, scheduling and revenue management, with colleagues across the aviation industry.

Amadeus is fully committed to OR. In fact, this year a 10 year investment plan has been put in place to develop leading revenue generating solutions for Altéa customers.

We look forward to attending the AGIFORS 53rd Annual Symposium this August in Amsterdam, and hope to see many of you there!


Open Source, Big Data, Events