Recently, Amadeus took part in the 51st annual symposium of Agifors, the global association of operations research specialists from the airline industry. The symposium, held this year in Antalya, Turkey, is always marked as a particularly important date in the travel industry calendar.
Essentially, operations research personnel are the guys who look at complex, intricate business problems upon which airlines depend. They then try to solve these problems with mathematics, statistics and optimisation. Topics include how to design the network of an airline and plan its schedule; how to handle aircraft, crew and passengers in case of disruptions; how to determine the best possible prices for each seat on each flight and more.
Airlines have often been first to organise such events for sharing ideas and best practices. And the reason the symposium itself is so successful and highly regarded is because it is such a creative platform for exchanging these best practices and also new models and new processes; this is the place where industry thought leaders genuinely develop new thinking. I personally care a great deal about Agifors as I believe operations research is one of the foundations of great airline IT systems.
Having hosted the 50th anniversary symposium last year, which drew a record attendance of some 150 delegates, this time around Amadeus won the Agifors “Best Innovation” award for our work on door-to-door travel search; which is where flights are combined with other means of transportation (train, local transportation, car), whilst enabling consumers to compare total trip durations and of course total cost.
The search technology developed by Amadeus addresses various challenges, one of which is combining highly standardised and structured data for air travel (schedules, fares, availabilities) with loosely standardised or unstructured data for rail and local transportation. The algorithms demonstrated at the Agifors Symposium are clearly a first yet significant step. At the same time, door-to-door will be a future core feature of all travel search applications, whether corporate self-booking tools, online leisure travel sites or agent desktop applications in travel agencies. Here in ORI at Amadeus, we’re already looking forward to symposium number 52….