Pricing & Revenue Management Blog

8 best reads for airline revenue managers

Jul 12, 2016 7:00:00 AM
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7 best reads for airline revenue managers

Today, airline industry executives in charge of pricing optimization and revenue management must develop skills in different areas: big data mining, airline pricing intelligence, data science and price visualization, to say the least.

With this in mind, I was thinking what books should you be reading to keep yourselves updated. I provide you with some of the bestselling books for our field of work.

1.Flying Off Course IV: Airline economics and marketing


flying-off-course.jpgThe book has gone to its fourth, updated edition. For such a particular subject, it is a Best Selling title, as it is a required text for Aviation Economics and MBAs in some American universities.

“The airline industry presents an enigma,” its foreword explains. “High growth rates in recent decades have produced only marginal profitability.”

It has established itself as a guide to the inner workings of the industry, including new material about airline cost's, open skies and new trends in airline pricing, such as the structure of air costs, their determinants, pricing for profit and forecasting demand.

“The systematic and concise approach of this book makes it very enjoyable for readers learning the A to Z of airline economics, as well as developing a deeper understanding of this vibrant industry. Flying Off Course is a thought-provoking book that should be essential reading for anyone interested in the airline industry.”

Dr Fariba Alamdari, Vice President of Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Rigas Doganis has acted as a consultant and strategy advisor to airlines, airports and governments around the world. He served as a non-executive director of EasyJet and South African Airways, and as Chairman of the European Aviation Club in Brussels.


2. Pricing and Revenue Optimization

 pricing_and_revenue_optimization.jpgThis book sets to be a comprehensive introduction to the concepts, theories, and applications of pricing and revenue optimization. According to the author,since pricing and revenue optimization has involved the use of sophisticated mathematical techniques, the topic has remained largely inaccessible to students and the typical manager." 

"Data-driven systems for revenue optimization have transformed the transportation and hospitality industries and are increasingly important in many other sectors of the global economy. Drawing on his unparalleled knowledge of current business practice, Bob Phillips has written the first book on this important subject that is both intellectually rigorous and accessible to a broad business audience."

J. Michael Harrison, Stanford University

Dr. Robert Phillips is Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Nomis Solutions and Professor of Professional Practice at the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University.


3.Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals

storytelling_with_data.jpgHere is a guide on how to communicate effectively with data, demonstrating “how to go beyond conventional tools to reach the root of your data, and how to use your data to create an engaging, informative, compelling story.” As airline intelligence professionals, we do not only work with data. We advise people on how to get insightful conclusions through engaging visualizations to make the right decisions quicklý. This information shows that we need to increase the price of flight, or relocate some passengers? Why?

Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic is the author of Storytelling With Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals and writes the blog



4. The Oxford Handbook of Pricing Management

oxford_handbook.jpgThese are a series of handbooks that have shown interest for scholars everywhere. This text in particular references the theory and practice of pricing across different industries, and is an excellent introduction to pricing fundamentals, tactics, and management. It briefly explains the intricacies of airline yield management and the ways fare aggregators relate to the entire airline pricing strategy, from defining a vision, developing a structure, monitoring competitive response and then analyzing performance.

Özalp Özer is Ashbel Smith Professor of Management Science at the Jindal School of Management of the University of Texas at Dallas. He is also an affiliated faculty at MIT Sloan School of Management, and he served as a faculty member at Columbia University and Stanford.

Robert Phillips is Director of the Center for Pricing and Revenue Management at Columbia University. Dr. Phillips has experience in pricing and revenue management in a wide variety of industries including airlines, hotels, rental cars, automotive, air freight, cruise lines, retail, and financial services.


5. Beyond Airline Disruptions


One thing is to apply pricing theories; another one is managing risks and learning from issues.

This book “focuses on prevention rather than firefighting”, revealing important issues to save costs and improve performance regarding tangible or intangible causes.

“A welcome book which throws light on a critical area of airline management which has been totally overlooked in the literature and which is often neglected by managers. How to plan for and minimize the costs of disruptions to schedules and operations is a difficult subject. But this is a very readable book."

Rigas Doganis, Air Transport Adviser and former Chairman/CEO of Olympic Airways

Jasenka Rapajic is an independent airline consultant with a diverse career spanning strategic, network and schedule planning, marketing and operations, within legacy, low cost and charter airlines.

6. Data Smart: Using Data Science to Transform Information into Insight 

 data_smart.jpgAccording to the author, “Data science is little more than using straight-forward steps to process raw data into actionable insight”. The book questions: how does one exactly do data science?

"Do you have to hire one of these priests of the dark arts, the "data scientist," to extract this gold from your data? Nope."

John W. Foreman is the Chief Data Scientist for and a management consultant for analytics in large companies such as the Coca-Cola Company and Royal Caribbean, as well as American government agencies, such as the DoD and the IRS. 


7. Not for Free: Revenue Strategies for a New World

not_for_free.jpgThe author says that “nearly every industry is susceptible to widely available low-cost disruptions originating from low-cost communications, data processing, rapid innovation, and great increased consumer expectations”. Furthermore, markets have become increasingly fragmented recently, thanks to increased choices.

Saul J. Berman is a VP and the Global Lead Partner for Strategy Consulting at IBM Global Business Services, where he also serves as the Innovation and Growth Service Areas lead and runs IBM’s annual CEO studies. He has over 25 years of consulting experience, with a focus on advising senior executives of large corporations, as well as startups, on competitive positioning, business strategy and planning, and business model innovation. 


8.The Global Airline Industry 


You may be interested in beginning with this comprehensive volume, coupled with in-depth understanding of the needs of the airline industry, according to Amazon.

It draws upon the editors’ experience with aviation and air transport issues such as economics, planning and operations and pricing & distribution. The book is an excellent introduction to the system, with international contributors affiliated to MIT’s Global Airline Industry Program.

The book has a companion website, with databases and updates of statistics, information and book material.

 Peter Belobaba is a must-read author in the industry -so you may want to revise other books he has written. He is the Principal Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he teaches graduate subjects in the airline industry and airline management, and serves as Program Manager of MIT’s Global Airline Industry Program and Director of the PODS Revenue Management Research Consortium. 

Mateo Odoni is Professor Emeritus of both  Aeronautics and Astronautics, as well as Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, and he has specialized in researching models and tools for exploring demand/capacity and demand/delay relationships in airports and air traffic control, and effective uses for it.

Cynthia Barnhart is both Chancellor and Ford Professor of Engineering, as well as director of the  Transportation@MIT center, specialized in developing models, optimization methods, and decision support systems for large-scale transportation problems


What titles would you recommend for airline revenue managers, and why? 

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Tags: Airline Pricing, Revenue Management
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