The operational environment’s complexity has only increased over the past years. In 2019, we experienced an aviation infrastructure at its limits at airports and in the air (Air Traffic Control-ATC). Unpredictable weather and labor disruptions are occurring more often. Demand volatility is increasing and travel restrictions are constantly changing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, various standalone systems support decision-making by providing fractional data, only allowing for a partial optimization of any operational challenge. To ensure smooth operations, planning and steering experts at each airline must make the right decisions, at the right time, for the right flight.

OPSD aims at considering all available information on the relevant framework (e.g. airport, ATC, weather) and resources (e.g. aircraft, crew) to make optimal decisions. Thus, transforming operations steering towards becoming more data-driven and laying the foundation for a holistic optimization across the different operational dimensions – and eventually also across airline borders. Finding better solutions to operational challenges will lead to less cost, increased operational stability, higher customer satisfaction and a reduced environmental footprint.

We are creating a proof of concept for a truly unique industrial cloud. At the core of this is a new paradigm in which diverse stakeholders work together and share information in order to optimize a system collaboratively rather than optimizing individually, avoiding bottlenecks and limiting the possible impact. That’s the ultimate vision we are pursuing.

Christian Most
Senior Director Digital Operations Optimization, Lufthansa Group

OPSD is built in a modular form

Each (sub-)module will have a certain stand-alone functionality but also integrates with other modules. Various use cases improve fuel efficiency by assigning the optimal aircraft to every flight or by optimizing flight speed. As the central optimization engine, the "Grand Solver" brings together all modules and combines their functionality into a holistic optimization.

Partnership with Google

To reach this ambitious goal Lufthansa Group is strategically partnering with Google – known for its innovation drive and processing of large amounts of data. Lufthansa Group colleagues are working hand in hand with experts from Google to deliver the OPSD – step by step, sprint by sprint, in an agile development framework. Phase 1 of the project focuses on delivering first OPSD features at SWISS. Development will however already involve colleagues from various departments across the Lufthansa Group and consider the goal to roll-out OPSD for other Lufthansa Group airlines as well.