FIU has partnered with Farelogix – a recognized leader in the travel industry known for groundbreaking technology – to form the new Data Science for Airlines Informatics (DSAI) program, an advanced training program focused on airline data analytics and decision sciences.
Housed at the School of Computing and Information Sciences, the program will be dedicated to the study and implementation of advanced predictive analytics for the airline industry, using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). Graduate students will work collaboratively with the Farelogix data and analytics team to develop new data models for optimizing airline revenue management and generating dynamic offers. The program will begin in May.
“Incorporating AI, machine learning and predictive analytics into airline revenue management … is the new frontier in air commerce,” said Jim Davidson, CEO of Farelogix. “This joint program with FIU – the fourth largest producer of computing talent in the U.S. – will conduct world class research, develop and curate best practices and standards, and prepare data science graduates for work in the airline industry. It’s an important step in positioning Farelogix customers and the wider airline industry to take advantage of dynamic offer optimization.”
Students working in the DSAI program will use machine learning and AI to explore how the vast amounts of data being generated in the airline industry can be used to understand trends, predict behaviors, and take autonomous action to create and deliver high value airline offers. This activity will focus on areas such as fare bundles, personalized ancillary bundles and seat offers, at price points that are both compelling to customers and optimized for the airline.
“Airlines represent an untapped market for data science, and few university programs focus on the big data challenges and opportunities of this industry,” said S.S. Iyengar, Ryder professor of computer science and director of the School of Computing and Information Sciences within the College of Engineering & Computing. “By partnering with Farelogix, we are preparing our data science graduates to be at the forefront of further innovation in the airline industry. This program also supports our undergraduate and graduate research initiatives and will provide new job opportunities for skilled students.”
According to the FAA, the airline industry represents a $1.6 trillion domestic market that supports approximately 10.6 million jobs and has 5.1 percent impact on national GDP.
DSAI research and development will focus on identifying the best “intelligent inputs” for airline-controlled offer engines such as those built by Farelogix (i.e., FLX Shop & Price, FLX Merchandise, FLX Availability Calculator, and FLX Schedule builder).
The underlying architecture of these engines enable airlines to instantly create, modify and manage offers in a number of ways, using a range of data inputs. These data inputs can be manually determined by a human; calculated by a rules engine; or derived using sophisticated and highly segmented machine learning outputs that leverage historical data, propensity algorithms, as well as insights into what’s happening in real time (e.g. search). This strategic application of data science will play an integral role in the optimization of airline offer and revenue management, and will be a priority for the work done by Farelogix and FIU.
“Our offer engines were purpose built to support the industry’s evolution from rules to science,” said Davidson. “Now, with the DSAI program, we can accelerate the strategic application of data science, machine learning and AI technologies to airline pricing models. This is game-changing for the industry.”