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General information

The AGIFORS Airline Operations 2020 Study Group Meeting has been re-imagined as a virtual, online conference.  It is scheduled for 1 June to 5 June 2020 online.

The COVID-19 crisis has caused airlines to dramatically reduce their operations – by anywhere from 50% to 100%, with the long-haul routes cut by the higher percentages.  Accordingly, as the immediate crisis from the disease gradually lifts, airlines still have two major challenges for the rest of this year in the deeply weakened global economy:

  1. How to restore market demand for air travel
  2. How to restore and recover their operations at minimal cost and with maximum efficiency as quickly as possible

AGIFORS cannot help with the first point, but the AGIFORS Airline Operations Study Group, with its Maintenance SG partner, is uniquely positioned to try and help this recovery.  We can bring together airlines operations experts, researchers and investigators in the field, vendors of operations and decision support systems solutions, and consultancies which specialize in improving airline operations.  As an organization and as a team, we can help our industry recover!


This special conference will bring together airlines and aviation experts in an online forum to get a understanding of the current situation, to  study the crucial topics and discuss how to move forward from the current crisis.  We will work with the airline and academic intellectual experts; and the software & service providers to examine and define what might be the most effective measures enabling recovery.

The conference will have our usual high-quality comprehensive program of technical papers, airline updates, and vendor presentations to keep you informed of the latest developments in airline operations research, decision support tools, and related investigations and solutions.  While we welcome ALL our usual different topic areas, we want to dedicate much of the program to this theme: “What has COVID-19 done to our airlines – and what can software vendors, decision support solutions, and consultancies do to help us restore our operations to normal?”


Accordingly, we will end the technical program with a panel discussion of airline personnel directly challenging the audience to address the above question.  We are soliciting persons for this panel.  If you are interested in being on the panel, please send an email to mike.irrgang@gmail.com.


Another important element of our physical conference has always been our social program and networking opportunities – getting to know your colleagues in the industry.  We are also going to try some fun and innovative actions online to recreate this opportunity in the conference.  To make it work, we are going to ask you for more information when you register, to distribute to the other conference attendees.  We ask you all to please be open to our approach.


Since we hope to have our usual mix of delegates from most continents, we are going to run the conference to accommodate different time zones, with some repetition so that delegates in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas can all see the same content at times that are convenient for them.


The deadline for final drafts of papers will be May 18.


We also wish to inform you that in 2021, thanks to the graciousness of Oman Air, we will have the conference in Muscat, Oman – as we had planned for this year!

Conference Overview

  • A forum for airline senior managers, airline personnel, vendors, and members of academia to review the most pressing issues facing airline operations today, offer potential solutions, and provide opportunity for high level networking
  • Airline updates on what’s the latest happenings and plans in the near term for new business processes, systems replacements and/or upgrades
  • Technical presentations from leading experts in the airline industry
  • Representatives from airlines
  • Vendors in the field of airline operations control, airport planning systems, crew management, and maintenance planning
  • A special AGIFORS MRO session this year
  • Online social events daily: The delegates will sign up for and participate in fun networking sessions using an interactive platform.  We are requesting your bios and your photos to make this both a more valuable networking opportunity for everyone as well as a more fun experience.

Conference Agenda

The theme of this year's conference is “What has COVID-19 done to our airlines – and what can software vendors, decision support solutions, and consultancies do to help us restore our operations to normal?”

In order to accommodate attendees in many timezones, the earliest presentations in the day will be repeated at the end of the day.  See HERE for further explanation.

Program is tentative and may change without notice

All times will be shown in UTC

Conference Agenda

Conference Sponsors

Gold Level US$500


If your company is interested in sponsorship opportunities, we are offering a sponsorship package for your consideration.  With each package, your company with be recognized an official sponsor for the conference, and recognized during each day’s proceedings.  If you would like to sign up for one of the limited sponsorship opportunities, please complete the online submission form at your earliest convenience.

Conference Keynote

The conference keynote address will be given on Monday, 1 June by James Sarvis -  Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of AeroMéxico.

James is responsible for AeroMéxico’s worldwide Airport, Flight, Maintenance and Cargo operations. In his previous 44-year aviation career with Delta Air Lines he held officer level positions in Airport Customer Services, overseeing 220 airports and over 10,000 employees as well as In-Flight Services with a flight attendant group of more than 24,000. He also has international experience in Airports, Sales and Reservations. 

James SarvisAeromexico Logo - LogoDix

As a medium sized airline with a mixed fleet, with narrowbody and widebody operations covering all of the Americas, and widebody long-haul operations to Europe and Asia, AeroMéxico is very representative of the operations that most of you have plus the problems that many of you face

Conference Registration

Register here

As this is our first ever virtual / online event, we wish to preserve the social and networking aspect of AGIFORS meetings. Accordingly, we are asking you to please submit a short bio and a photograph of yourself during the registration process. You will be participating via a virtual meeting package which displays tiled images of all the participants on their webcams. In the week before the conference, we will display all the participants with their bios, photos and contact information. This will be on a hidden page. The link will only be distributed to registrants of the conference. The webpage will be taken down within the week after the conference ends.

Conference Information - Simple Checklist

Here is a simple checklist of things to do:

  • Register HERE
  • Conference logistics HERE
  • Submit photos AT REGISTRATION
  • Register for happy hours NOT ACTIVE YET
  • If an airline, submit an Airline Update HERE
  • If wishing to be a vendor sponsor, send email HERE
  • The Technical Program is HERE
  • The Conference Agenda is HERE

    Presentation submission

    If you are interested in giving a talk, please submit an abstract as soon as possible, until May 10th at the latest, under this link: 

    Abstract submission form

    Please note:  We are only accepting presentations on Airline Operations or Maintenance & Engineering for this conference.  If you wish to submit papers on other topics, the AGIFORS Symposium is still scheduled for September, 2020.

    Conference Detail

    Our goal is to re-create the same atmosphere as the physical conferences – i.e. what AGIFORS Ops is famous for:
    • High quality technical presentations
    • Bringing together sophisticated systems solutions vendors and academic researchers in airline technologies with airline ops personnel and/or OR specialists
    • Providing a fun environment for networking and expanding industry contacts

    For the technical flow of the conference, we will use a version of GoToMeeting software: GoToTraining.  We will give you information on how to get set up for this prior to the conference, and we may conduct a couple of training sessions if necessary.

    Every day there will be a “social hour”.  The social hours will require signup for groups of up to 25 people (the number of live webcams you can tile on the screen).  Also, at registration we need to solicit people to be group leaders.  You sign up today for John Smith’s group, tomorrow for Mary Jones’ group.  You give an alternate in case choice #1 is full.  The job of the leader is to restart conversation when it lags.  If you are willing to be a group leader, please send an email to mike.irrgang@gmail.com.

    During “coffee breaks” we will run a screensaver of fun photos which we collect after registration – explained further below.  This to add more fun to the conference.

    As usual, we are s
    oliciting airline updates.  Please contact judith.semar@lhsystems.com if you are willing to do an airline update.  The focus this year should be COVID-19.

    Also as usual, we will be allowing vendors to give 10 minute vendor presentations.  However, given our reduced fee structure this year, we will place all the vendor presentations at the end (June 5).

    Vendors who wish to have a longer 30 minute presentation (this year only), placed on days 1-4 of the conference are invited to be sponsors -- see below.

    As a new feature this year, we are going to have two panel discussions:

    1. “Why have there been no major new approaches to disruption management in the past 20 years?  What can we do now?” Panelists: Michael Clarke, John Paul Clarke, Ira Gershkoff, Gesine Varfis, and Mike Irrgang
    2. “Here is what we airlines want you suppliers and consultancies to do for us.  Can you do it? …”
      Panelists: not yet defined - airline people only (volunteers? ...)

    Since the networking opportunity which AGIFORS study group meetings provide has always been a key element of our conferences, the only way it is going to work is to have short bios and a photograph submitted for everyone.  In order to not run afoul of GDPR we believe that if you don’t want to submit this info, then we are sorry but you can’t register.

      As a new fun element of this virtual conference, we also ask you to provide us with up to 5 photos taken by you.  The theme of each will be either a past AGIFORS or your favorite travel destination.  At the end of the conference, in addition to our usual awards for “Best Presentation, … Technical Innovation, … Airline Update, … Vendor Update”, we will have a new category “Best Photographer”.  The photos will be run with the photographer’s name prominently displayed during the “coffee breaks”.

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