Marco Blanco successfully defended his dissertation “Optimization Algorithms for the Flight Planning Problem” at the Institute of Mathematics at Freie Universität Berlin on September 13, 2023. The Flight Planning Problem deals with computing the most fuel efficient and/or fastest routes for aircraft in dependence of the weather and other conditions. The aim is to take advantage of the jet stream, to avoid turbulences, to minimize overflight fees, or to bypass zones that should not be overflown. The thesis develops the current state of the art in this area, in particular, A*-type algorithms based on tailor-made potentials such as super-optimal wind in the time dependent 2D case and idealized vertical profiles in the time dependent 3D case. The methods are implemented in the VOLAR engine of Lufthansa Systems’s market leading LIDO Flight/4D software, which is used to plan about 40% of all flights. The project was carried out in the MobilityLab of the Research Campus MODAL. 

The photo shows (from left to right) Niels Lindner (postdoc committee member), Marco Blanco, Ralf Borndörfer (promoter and committee head),  and Tim Conrad (committee member); the committee also included Marco Chiarandini from the University of Southern Denmark (external committee member), he participated via video.