Grad Student Seminar: Zheqi Zhang and Ron Chu, American Airlines
American Airlines carries over 600,000 passengers daily (pre-pandemic, but flights are returning to pre-pandemic levels!). Planning for every single flight starts almost a year in advance, and requires the input of multiple departments. The Operations Research and Advanced Analytics (ORAA) Team at American Airlines plays a critical role in the models, systems, and analytics that departments across the airline rely on to do their jobs on a daily basis. This talk gives insight into the entire flight and passenger journey – from building a schedule, pricing and selling tickets, airport, and post-travel items. We’ll also discuss how the ORAA team supports departments across the airline, and how the team is advancing the use of machine learning and advanced analytics across the organization.
Ron Chu joined American Airlines 26 years ago. He developed models to forecast passenger demands and optimize flight schedules, which are the key tools for Network Planning Department to build monthly schedule. His interests include using realistic approaches to capture the complexity of real-world business problems and to solve large scale optimization models. Ron graduated from MIT with a masters in Operations Research and doctoral in Ocean Systems Management.
Zheqi Zhang (Harry) joined the Operations Research and Advanced Analytics group in American Airlines after graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2019. As a consultant, he identified the bottlenecks in baggage operations using analytic models, developed and enhanced decision support tools for baggage room operations and transfer bag operations. At UNC-Chapel Hill, his research focused on the resource allocation in mass causality events supervised by Professor Argon and Professor Ziya.