PhD Position Fuel Optimisation with Explainable ML – DelftUniversityofTechnology(TUDelft) – Delft

  • Delft


In this position, the calculation of trip fuel takes center stage, holding the power to safely guide aircraft to their destinations. Yet, the task of estimating fuel amounts is not an easy one. It involves many variables, including weather conditions, airport congestion, hold-on duration, and aircraft performance. The existing estimation models fall short of accurately assessing the impact of these factors, often leading to excess fuel, unnecessary costs for airlines, and higher CO2 emissions.

Your mission as a PhD candidate is to innovate the industry by developing autonomous tools that enhance fuel estimation, helping airlines reduce costs and their environmental footprint. The PhD candidate shall focus on state-of-the-art machine learning techniques, that can find patterns within vast amounts of data, to refine the estimation of flight trajectories and fuel consumption. Additionally, you will explore various data sources, meticulously analyzing their significance in achieving precise estimations.

Furthermore, we understand the importance of transparency and explainability for the decision-making process. By addressing the black-box nature of machine learning models, you will bring clarity and predictability to your models. Trust will be earned as you evaluate the robustness of your models in different scenarios, identifying key environmental variations that influence the final estimation. By creating an intuitive graphical representation, you will empower airline operators and pilots with the insight needed to make informed decisions.

This PhD position is a collaborative endeavor between TU Delft and KLM Operations Control Center. As part of this partnership, you will have the unique opportunity to apply modelling skills, logistics and aviation knowledge to conduct impactful research. Working closely with a team of experienced professionals, including problem owners and researchers, you will be immersed in a practical setting that inspires innovation.

You will be based primarily within the dynamic and growing Air Transport & Operations team, surrounded by motivated academics, driven PhD students, and experienced postdocs. This open-minded, friendly, and collaborative community will provide the necessary support and guidance to develop your research project and establish yourself as a recognized researcher in your field.

Additionally, it is expected that you will spend some days per week at Schiphol Airport, working alongside several units at KLM Flight Operations, including their operational experts and software team. This immersive experience will further deepen your understanding of the industry and amplify your potential to make a lasting impact and to develop breakthrough research.

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