New Air Transportation Center Launches at Georgia Tech

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Professor Laurie Garrow has launched a new transportation center, the Air Transportation Lab at Georgia Tech (ATL@GT) that focuses on modeling passenger demand for air travel.

The center launched March 14 at the inaugural member’s meeting on the Georgia Tech campus. Together with members from aviation companies, the center will focus on revenue management, applied modeling, and educational activities. Revenue management is a field of research that helps airlines and other companies decide which offers to make available to customers at different points in time – or stated another way, when consumers visit an airline website, which flights, tickets, and ancillary products can they purchase. 

The center currently works with eight airlines and airline software companies.

Members of the ATL@GT center pose for a group photo at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Ga.

“I am humbled and honored to be asked to take on this significant leadership role and closely collaborate with our corporate members to tackle challenging research problems that are important to the airline industry,” said Garrow.

The ATL@GT center continues a strong tradition of academia partnering with experts in airline revenue management. Previously, many of the corporate members of ATL@GT were part of the PODS Consortium at MIT. Following the retirement of the consortium’s founder Peter Belobaba, Garrow picked up the torch and established ATL@GT.

Garrow is a travel behavior expert with a focus in airline passenger behavior. She specializes in modeling and understanding how people make purchase decisions relating to airline travel. 

This spring, Garrow introduced a new graduate course in airline revenue management that combines concepts from demand modeling, operations research and economics to give students applied knowledge of revenue management.

Garrow’s new course was inspired by feedback from center members. They saw a knowledge gap around revenue management at many universities and thought it would be important for students to gain a more applied knowledge of revenue management and network planning.

One of the center’s focus areas is new technology.

The airline industry is investing in new technologies such as New Distribution Capability (NDC) technologies that more easily display offers that are tailored to individual customer preferences. For example, it is currently difficult for customers to compare prices across different airlines for tickets that include one checked bag and an advance seat assignment. NDC technologies make this simpler.

“NDC will allow airlines and travel agencies to present offers in new ways to customers and to create a more customized experience,” Garrow said. “This means designing new ways to show products to customers that will help them better plan not only the air portion of their trip, but their entire journey.”

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