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Interview with

Ulrike Kluge


In aviation research, it is essential to consider the entire travel chain and future passenger types.
Ulrike Kluge

Ulrike Kluge has been employed at Bauhaus Luftfahrt since June 2016. The 28-year-old economist with a focus on social psychology is a member of the research focus area “Operations” as well as an expert in the field of passenger demand and (future) passenger behaviour.

What is your current research focus, Mrs. Kluge?

Within an EU project, I currently assess intermodal mobility concepts in regards to their timesaving potentials as well as possible improvements in efficiency and comfort along the travel chain (door-to-door). Such concepts can also be disruptive, like urban mobility concepts or the idea for Hyperloop. For the evaluation, I use key performance indicators (KPIs) derived from future passenger groups and passenger requirements. It is not sufficient to consider only the actual flight, as potentials for improvement can be found along the entire travel chain, which is an interesting and essential aspect, but does also require mobility providers to collaborate (e.g. airlines and railway services). Therefore, my analysis goes beyond the pure flight (gate-to-gate) and includes, for example, routes to the airport (door-to-kerb) as well as the trip from the airport to one’s final destination (kerb-to-door).

What is the relevance of your work for the future of aviation?

My results help to identify unused potentials, but also possible bottlenecks along the travel chain. Outcomes support stakeholders from politics and industry to gain a better idea of the future mobility landscape, possible developments within Europe and, eventually, to make informed decisions. For instance, through an enhanced understanding of future passenger groups and their requirements and needs towards the European transport system, flight offers and products can be improved and adapted individually. In other words, my work contributes to the future goal of reaching destinations faster and more comfortable.

Which methods and tools are you using?

Based on the research question, I work with qualitative and quantitative methods. For a better understanding of the aviation system, the interplay of the stakeholders aircraft manufacturer, airport, airline and passenger as well as the exploration of high-level topics, I use system dynamic modelling. Statistics and segmentation methods are helpful in looking at passenger-related aspects. We also exchange ideas with other research institutions from various transport sectors as well as with relevant experts from the industry.

What are the results of your work?

My work is mostly part of a project in which we work together as a team. In a system dynamic model of the European air transport system, for example, we can depict in which way (air) passenger demand is composed as well as simulate and quantify this demand for the next decades. Based on the development of demographical and socio-economic factors, such as age structure, household composition, income or education level, we develop future (air) passenger profiles. Generally, travellers will be older on average and the transparency of different travel options through digitisation as well as the usage of new information and communication technologies will change our travel behaviour sustainably.

In what way does Bauhaus Luftfahrt provide the best environment for your research?

In addition to the interdisciplinary environment, I appreciate the professional and personal exchange with my colleagues. Work results can be discussed, but also critically debated, which steadily drives one’s own research and ideas.