Photo: Colourbox

Science must solve luggage problem

Wednesday 18 Nov 15

Two DTU students are going to help Frankfurt Airport to get transit luggage to its destination on time.

Changing flights in international airports while being pressed for time can be a stressful experience for passengers. But it is no picnic for the transit luggage either. It has to go through sorting, security scans, packing, transport, loading, and unloading before reaching its final destination together with the passengers.

When the two former students from DTU Management, Janus Timler Holm and Jakob Lindorff, were introduced to the problem by their supervisor David Pisinger, they could immediately see great opportunities in optimizing transit luggage handling in international airports.

They recently received the DORS (Danish Operations Research Society) award for the best operations research thesis which, in addition to the honour, includes a prize of DKK 5,000.

Photo: Private 
Photo: Jakob Lindorff (left) and Janus Timler Holm (right).

Suitcases in time for transit flights
“We calculated a solution to the problem, which ensures that more suitcases make their transit flights. This has several advantages: First of all, fewer passengers will be missing their luggage at their final destinations. Secondly, the airport avoids to pay fines to the airline. And thirdly, the airport is able to offer airlines shorter transit times,” says Jakob.

To solve the task, he and Janus employed operational analysis which is a scientific approach to solving complex problems by means of mathematical modelling. They signed a contract with Frankfurt Airport to have access to data and were also given the chance to visit the airport to see how they handle transit luggage. Based on their extensive material, they examined several solution methods and compared them with each other.

Janus and Jakob were given an A for their thesis and are currently writing a scientific article on the project.

Article in DTUavisen no. 9, November 2015.

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