AGIFORS student awards for ATO PhDs Simon van Oosterom and Mike Zoutendijk

This summer two of our PhD students at ATO have received prizes in the Anna Valicek student paper competition at the Annual Symposium of AGIFORS (the Airline Group of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies) for the work they performed on airport operations.

The Anna Valicek award recognizes students who work on original, innovative, and high-quality applications of operations research to problems related to the aviation industry. A jury, consisting of twenty experts from the field have awarded the work of Mike Zoutendijk with an honourable mention and Simon van Oosterom with the 2nd prize.

Optimizing electric towing operations

Simon van Oosterom received the Award (a bronze medal, $1000, free tickets to the symposium, and a firm handshake from the jury) after presenting his work at the 62nd AGIFORS annual symposium. He, together with supervisor dr. Mihaela Mitici, proposed an integrated approach to the scheduling of electric aircraft towing vehicles.

The path planning of towed aircraft and towing vehicles is combined with the assignment of vehicles to aircraft, where the battery capacity and charging times are taken into account. The results have shown that a fleet of 40 vehicles is required to tow all scheduled flights at Schiphol airport on a regular day, increasing approximately linear with the amount of traffic on the airport. 

Data-driven flight prediction and gate assignment

Mike Zoutendijk received an Honourable Mention for his work, "Probabilistic Flight Delay Predictions Using Machine Learning and Applications to the Flight-to-Gate Assignment Problem", in which flight delays are predicted which can be a valuable source of information for airport operators when making decisions on an operational level. The predictions are made using probabilistic Machine Learning techniques. In the paper, the predictions are applied to the specific use case of flight-to-gate assignments. The results show that it is possible to use the predictions to increase the robustness of these assignments, by limiting the probability that any two aircraft are present at one gate at the same time.