There have been major technological advances, policy shifts, or exogenous events that have changed the course of aviation. These game-changing advances have influenced aviation in fundamental ways. For example, the introduction of the jet engine in the 1950s brought air travel to the masses. The deregulation of the airline industry in the late 1970s dramatically changed the competitive landscape and spurred new pricing strategies and network structures. The events of 9/11 led to new security measures that ultimately decreased the attractiveness of short-haul flights. Given an understanding of how these new technological advances, policy shifts, and exogenous events shaped the course of aviation, we can speculate about what the next game changer will be in aviation. Will it be the COVID-19 pandemic, or is there something on the horizon that holds even greater potential for shaping the future of aviation?
Laurie Garrow, Ph.D., is a professor and co-director of the Center for Urban and Regional Air Mobility (CURAM) at the Georgia Institute of Technology, in Atlanta, Georgia. She is an expert in aviation, travel behavior, data analytics, and discrete choice modeling. Her work on urban air mobility and aviation has been featured by the BBC, CNN Travel, NPR, USA Today, the LA Times, IEEE Spectrum, Avionics International, and other media outlets. Dr. Garrow earned her Ph.D. in civil engineering at Northwestern University, with an emphasis on travel demand modeling and airline passenger behavior. She is a recipient of an NSF CAREER, the ASCE Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, and the CUTC-ARTBA New Faculty Member Award. She currently serves as president of AGIFORS and holds the distinction of being the first woman, the first academic, and the first second-term president to lead the organization in its 60-year history. Dr. Garrow previously served as vice president of Sections and Societies of INFORMS, president of the Transportation Science and Logistics Society of INFORMS, and chair of the Aviation Applications Section of INFORMS.