LISTEN: How Airlines Are Still Flying High During the Pandemic

Tuesday, February 16, 2021


Professor Laurie Garrow

Covid-19's impact on the airline industry has been deep, with a more than 50% decrease in the volume of air passengers over the past year. Passenger travel behavior changed almost overnight, causing previous industry data to become obsolete.

Professor Laurie Garrow spoke with Ashley Kilgore, host of the podcast Resoundingly Human, to discuss the industry’s response to the pandemic and how airlines have pivoted to adapt to current challenges.

Garrow is co-director for the Center for Urban and Regional Air Mobility and president of AGIFORS, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of operations research within aviation.

“Financially, we are not expecting to see a return of demand to pre-COVID levels until probably 2023 to 2025.  Of course, those forecasts are changing daily, but that’s the current expectation. Many airlines have noted that they’re going to emerge smaller, with more streamlined operations and fewer fleet types, which should improve air efficiency.  There is a general sense that I’m seeing in the industry that the flexible ticketing requirements – meaning no cancellation penalties – are here to stay. So, this is good for the customer because it means that they will have added flexibility after the pandemic, but it also means that many of our RM demand forecasting and optimization approaches will need to change.  Finally, the aircraft grooming procedures are here to stay, and both airports as well as aircrafts will be much cleaner moving forward.”

Resoundingly Human is a podcast from The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences that highlights  the contributions of the people who are using operations research and analytics to save lives, save money and solve problems.