Innovation Partnership with Lufthansa Cargo AG

The innovation partnership between Lufthansa Cargo AG and the FZI Research Center for Information Technology exists since 2011. Lufthansa Cargo AG is one of the world's leading companies in the transport of air freight and an independent subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

The cooperation focuses on the joint interest of Lufthansa Cargo AG and the FZI Research Center for Information Technology to work on current and practice-oriented questions in the fields of logistics, operations research and information technology. Interdisciplinary teams of scientists and students at the FZI develop ideas and solutions to meet the future challenges of the air cargo industry.

The research topics cover a broad spectrum within the research division IPE as well as different areas of Lufthansa Cargo AG. They range from logistical issues, like optimal packing strategies or tactical planning of the flight network, to economic topics, such as pricing or overbooking decisions, to pure IT topics, such as IT security.

Within this context, we use a wide range of methods from operations research, data mining and machine learning.

Since 2011, we have worked together on more than 50 questions on various and exciting topics. The results are being applied successfully at Lufthansa Cargo AG. There are regularly opportunities to write a thesis at the FZI in cooperation with Lufthansa Cargo AG. If you are interested, please feel free to contact us.

Example topic: Packing planning in air freight

Photo credits: Lufthansa Cargo AG
Photo credits: Lufthansa Cargo AG

The first topic within the cooperation, and still highly topical today, is planning the optimal loading of air freight pallets or containers. Air freight is characterized by a strong heterogeneity of goods. Often food, bulky machine parts, urgent medicines and live animals are found on a flight. This places high demands on packing planning, because all goods have to be packed into narrow spaces, taking into account various restrictions such as stackability or incompatibilities, like between food and toxic chemicals. Short-term bookings and changes further increase the complexity.

Within the cooperation procedures have been developed and evaluated which check whether certain goods fit on a flight and recommend concrete packing of the pallets and where to position them in the aircraft.

Contact person

Anna Hess

Research Scientist



Anna Hess studied Production and Operations Management at the Hector School of Engineering and Management of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). In addition to her part-time bachelor and master studies, she worked for several years in a sensor technology and industrial automation company. In her master thesis in cooperation with the FZI, she dealt with models for optimizing weight and balance planning in air freight. 

Since September 2019, she has been working as a research assistant at the FZI in the research area IPE with a focus on logistics and supply chain optimization. Her research interest lies in the planning and optimization of complex systems. 




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