IE Grad GT INFORMS Student Chapter Talk

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The GT INFORMS student chapter is hosting a speaking event...

Doug Gray

Senior Manager, Optimization Solutions

Production Solutions Department, Technology

Southwest Airlines

Operations Research in the Airline Industry: A Survey with Specific Problem Modeling Formulations


Airlines represent logistically complex enterprises with many inter-related and inter-dependent business functions, e.g., flight schedules, crew schedules, and maintenance schedules.  Airlines operate in a highly competitive domestic and global market place, selling what is, in effect, a commodity product to a highly price sensitive consumer.  Airlines are also subject to various factors beyond their control that directly affect their operations, their On-Time Performance, their customer service levels and profitability, e.g., weather, FAA regulations, Air Traffic Control (ATC) delay programs, ground and air traffic congestion, labor union contracts. Airline operating costs are driven by fuel costs, highly skilled unionized labor costs, and maintenance costs.  Airline capital expenditures are driven by aircraft costs, facilities, gate, and slot costs.  Airline revenues are driven by markets served, competition-driving pricing, and optimally matching inventory supply to consumer demand.  All of these factors combined make for a challenging airline operating environment. 

Operations Research plays a significant and critically important role in analyzing and optimizing airline operations ranging from minimizing costs, maximizing revenue and profit, enhancing customer experience and satisfaction.  We will review how OR factors into airline planning and operational business processes, and we will examine specific airline problem and solution modeling approaches.

Note that Doug is a GT alum, and he'll be here for a couple of days to recruit students at all levels. 


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    Anita Race
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    Fletcher Moore
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