MIT has a keen interest in and strong credentials in airline industry research and education. The Institute created in 1964 the Flight Transportation Laboratory (FTL) to study air transportation. During the following 30 years FTL pioneered research and education on practically every aspect of air transportation, spawning many ideas and innovations which have made a deep impact on the industry.
In 1995, the scope of FTL was expanded through the establishment of the International Center for Air Transportation (ICAT) whose domain of interests includes the role of automation and human factors in aviation, in addition to airlines and to aviation infrastructure (airports and air traffic control). At the same time, at least 15 MIT faculty in the Departments of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Economics, Electrical Engineering/ Computer Science, Political Science and in the Sloan School of Management have a strong interest and enjoy wide recognition for their teaching and/or research in air transportation.
The Global Airline Industry Program is interdisciplinary, bringing together faculty and graduate students from the Sloan School of Management, the School of Engineering and the School of Humanities and Social Science. The Program is led by Professors Arnold Barnett, Cynthia Barnhart and Amedeo Odoni acting as Co-Principal Investigators, while Dr. Peter Belobaba is Program Manager. All have extensive experience in interdisciplinary research.
Following are the biographical notes for the faculty comprising the core team: Barnett, Barnhart, Odoni, Belobaba, Hansman, Balakrishnan, Hoffer-Gittell, Kochan, McKersie, Rose and Swelbar.
Arnold I. Barnett
Arnold Barnett is George Eastman Professor of Management Science at MIT's Sloan School of Management. He holds a BA in Physics from Columbia College and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from MIT. His research specialty is applied mathematical modeling on issues of policy importance; aviation safety is one of his primary areas of emphasis. Professor Barnett has authored or co-authored nearly 100 published papers. His research articles about aviation safety have been extensively summarized in, among others, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, The Economist and Newsweek. He has served many times as consultant to the FAA and its contractors, and to five airports and fourteen airlines. Barnett has studied passenger mortality risk in commercial aviation, public perceptions of and reactions to the risks of flying, and such specific safety issues as weather hazards, runway collision risk, adoption of free flight routings, and the dangers of terrorism. He was chair over 1996-98 of the FAA’s Technical Team about Positive Passenger Bag Match, and was recently hired by the Transportation Security Administration. In 2002, he received the President’s Citation from the Flight Safety Foundation for “truly outstanding contributions on behalf of safety.”
Cynthia Barnhart is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the MIT School of Engineering, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering Systems, and Co-Director of the Operations Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has developed and teaches courses including Carrier Systems, Optimization of Large-Scale Transportation Systems, Airline Schedule Planning and the Airline Industry. Her research activities have focused on the development of optimization models and methods for designing, planning and operating transportation systems. She currently serves or has served as Area Editor (Transportation) for Operations Research, as Associate Editor for Operations Research and for Transportation Science, as President of the INFORMS Women in Operations Research/Management Science Forum, as President of the INFORMS Transportation and Logistics Section, as President of INFORMS, and as Co-Director of MIT's Center for Transportation and Logistics. Professor Barnhart has been awarded the Franz Edelman 2nd Prize for Achievement in Operations and the Management Sciences, the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, the First Prize Award for Best Paper in Transportation Science & Logistics, and the INFORMS award for the Advancement of Women in Operations Research and Management Science.
Amedeo R. Odoni
Amedeo Odoni is Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT and one of the Co-Directors of the Airline Industry Program. He has also served as Co-Director of the FAA's National Center of Excellence in Aviation Education, Co-Director of MIT's Operations Research Center, Editor-in-Chief of Transportation Science, and consultant to numerous international airport and aviation-related organizations and projects. The author, co-author or co-editor of ten books and more than 100 other technical publications, he is a Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS) and has received several distinctions, among them the INFORMS Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to Transportation Science, the T. Wilson Endowed Chair at MIT, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) National Award for Excellence in Aviation Education, an Honorary Ph.D. from the Athens University of Economics and Business, and four MIT awards for excellence in teaching, mentoring and advising. His students have also received many prizes for their research and dissertations.
Peter P. Belobaba
Peter Belobaba is Principal Research Scientist at MIT’s International Center for Air Transportation, in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He holds a Master of Science in Transportation and a Ph.D. in Flight Transportation Systems from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Belobaba currently teaches graduate level courses on The Airline Industry and Airline Management, in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT and is the Program Manager of the MIT Global Airline Industry Program. He is also Adjunct Professor of Aviation Management in the International Aviation MBA Program at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business in Montreal, where he teaches courses on Airline Economics, Airline Management, and Air Carrier Planning and Operations. He directs the Passenger Origin-Destination Simulator (PODS) MIT Research Consortium funded by eight international airlines to explore forecasting, optimization and competitive impacts of revenue management. He has published articles on the topics of airline pricing, revenue management, competition operating costs and productivity analysis in Airline Business, Operations Research, Transportation Science, Decision Sciences, Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management and the Journal of Air Transport Management.
R. John Hansman, Jr.
John Hansman is the T. Wilson Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, and Director of the MIT International Center for Air Transportation. He conducts research on information technologies applied to air transportation in several areas related to flight vehicle operations, Air Traffic Control and safety. Dr. Hansman holds 6 patents and has authored over 250 technical publications. He has over 5300 hours of pilot in-command time in airplanes, helicopters and sail planes, including meteorological, production and engineering flight test experience. Professor Hansman chairs the FAA Research and Development Advisory Committee. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He received the 1996 FAA Excellence in Aviation Award, the 2004 Dryden Award for Aeronautics Research and the 1994 Losey Atmospheric Sciences Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the 2006 Kriske Award for Career Contributions from the Air Traffic Control Association.
Hamsa Balakrishnan is an Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of Engineering Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University in April 2006, following which she was a researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the NASA Ames Research Center. Her research interests include algorithms for the scheduling and routing of air traffic, techniques for the collection and processing of air traffic data, and mechanisms for the allocation of airport and airspace resources. She was the recipient of an NSF CAREER Award in 2008.
Amy Cohn is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan. She is also a recent Fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Industry Studies Program. Her research focus is on achieving realism and tractability in applied large-scale combinatorial optimization problems, particularly in the context of airline planning and scheduling. She is currently focused on the frontier between incorporating robustness in the planning process and facilitating recovery during irregular operations. Her research has been published in journals such as Transportation Science, Operations Research, and Manufacturing and Service Operations Management. She is also a multi-year winner of the Jon and Beverly Holt Teaching Award.
Jody Hoffer Gittell, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Management at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management, and Acting Faculty Director of the MIT Leadership Center. Her research explores how coordination by front-line workers contributes to quality and efficiency outcomes in service settings, with a particular focus on the airline and health care industries. Her current work seeks to understand how organizations transform relationships to improve performance, and as part of this effort she will study Southwest Airlines’ post-merger integration of AirTran employees. Gittell is the author of dozens of articles and chapters, and books titled The Southwest Airlines Way: Using the Power of Relationships to Achieve High Performance (McGraw-Hill, 2003), Up In the Air: How the Airlines Can Improve Performance by Engaging Their Employees (Cornell University Press, 2009), High Performance Healthcare (McGraw-Hill, 2009), and Sociology of Organizations: Structures and Relationships (Sage Publications, 2011). Before joining Brandeis University, Gittell received her PhD from the MIT Sloan School of Management and was an Assistant Professor at the Harvard Business School.
Thomas A. Kochan
Thomas Kochan is the George M. Bunker Professor of Management at MIT's Sloan School of Management. He has done research on a variety of topics related to industrial relations and human resource management in the public and private sector. His recent books include: Restoring the American Dream: A Working Families' Agenda; Up In the Air: How Airlines Can Improve Performance by Engaging Their Employees and Healing Together: The Kaiser Permanente Labor Management Partnership. His 1986 book The Transformation of American Industrial Relations received the annual award from the Academy of Management for the best scholarly book on management. Professor Kochan is a Past President of both the International Industrial Relations Association (IIRA) and the Industrial Relations Research Association (IRRA). In 1996, he received the Heneman Career Achievement Award from the Human Resources Division of the Academy of Management. He was named the Centennial Visiting Professor from The London School of Economics in 1995. From 1993 to 1995 he served as a member of the Clinton Administration's Commission on the Future of Worker/Management Relations.
Robert B. McKersie
Robert McKersie is a Professor (emeritus) at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He has been at MIT since 1980. Prior to that he served as Dean of the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University and prior to that, he was on the faculty of the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. His research interests have been in labor-management relations, with particular focus on bargaining activity. With Richarad Walton, he co-authored A Behavioral Theory of Labor Negotiations in 1965. Subsequently, he focused his attention on the subject of productivity (authoring a book with Lawrence Hunter entitled Pay, Productivity and Collective Bargaining) and participated in a multi-year project at the Sloan School that resulted in the award-winning book by Thomas Kochan, Harry Katz, and McKersie entitled The Transformation of American Industrial Relations. More recently, he has returned to the subject of bargaining process and co-authored with Richard Walton and Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld a book entitled Strategic Negotiations. He continues to do research on strategies being pursued in different industries to bring about more effective organizational arrangements.
Nancy L. Rose
Nancy Rose is Professor of Economics at MIT and Director of the National Bureau of Economic Research Program in Industrial Organization. Her research focuses on the empirical analysis of firm behavior and the economics of regulation, and includes extensive analyses of the airline, motor carrier, and electric utility industries, as well as analyses of executive compensation in U.S. firms. She is the recipient of a Faculty Award for Women Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation, Faculty Research Fellowships from the John M. Olin Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. She has been a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and a George and Karen McCown Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution. She has served on the Board of Editors of the American Economic Review and the Journal of Industrial Economics, as associate editor for a number of economics journals, and on numerous professional committees.
William S. Swelbar
Wiliam S. Swelbar is a Research Engineer in MIT’s International Center for Air Transportation, where he is affiliated with the Global Airline Industry Program and Airline Industry Consortium. Prior to accepting his research position at MIT, Bill was President and a Founding Partner of Eclat Consulting, Inc. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Hawaiian (Airlines) Holdings, Inc. He has a long track record in identifying industry trends in industry in their formative stages and forecasting the consequences. Over the past 25+ years, he has represented airlines, airports, investors, manufacturers, and labor groups in a consulting role. Bill’s work has included competitive assessments, cost-benefit analyses, and other economic and financial advisory services in support of strategic planning exercises, corporate communications efforts, asset valuation projects and and labor negotiations activities. Bill is a much sought-after speaker and also has provided expert witness testimony before various tribunals and before the United States Congress regarding the economics of commercial air transport. Bill holds a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from Eastern Michigan University and an MBA from The George Washington University.
Andrew von Nordenflycht
Andrew von Nordenflycht is assistant professor of Strategy at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada and a Research Fellow of the CIBC Center for Corporate Governance and Risk Management. He received a BA in History from Stanford University and his Ph.D. in Management from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He researches the structure and management of human capital intensive firms, with a focus on professional services and airlines. He is co-author of Up In the Air: How the Airlines Can Improve Performance by Engaging Their Employees and has published articles in Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Academy of Management Journal and Monthly Labor Review.
Philippe A. Bonnefoy
Philippe A. Bonnefoy is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. He conducts research in several areas related to air transportation, energy and the environment. His current research projects include the development of aviation in a carbon constrained world and the development of transportation infrastructure in mature, emerging and developing countries. He also teaches at MIT (16.82 "Flight Vehicle Engineering") and has lectured on airport systems. His doctoral dissertation focused on the investigation and modeling of the development of multi-airport systems around the world. He has been working and consults in the air transportation industry for aviation companies and private equity firms. He holds a Ph.D. from MIT, and a bachelor in Aerospace Engineering from Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal in Canada. He was a recipient of the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Postgraduate Scholarship (PGS) in 2004. He also holds a private pilot license with instrument and seaplane ratings.