GE Flight Quest: Winners use algorithms on flight data to help reduce delays

In November, GE and Alaska Airlines presented FlightQuest, an open data challenge to the world’s best data gurus to delve into two months worth of FlightStats flight data, and come up with algorithms that could predict airplane arrival times more precisely.

GE Flight Quest awarded the 5 top Phase 1 winners a total of $250,000 for their algorithms. The winning algorithm produced arrival estimates that were 40% better in predicted flight arrival time that current technology.

An interesting data point from the MIT Technology Review article, “A Data-Crunching Prize to Cut Flight Delays” says, “[these improvements] could help airlines reduce gate congestion and manage crews more efficiently, and as a result could save travelers up to five minutes at the gate, say the prize sponsors. Each minute in reduction per flight could also save $1.2 million in annual crew costs and $5 million in annual fuel savings for a midsized airline.”

On the heels of this successful challenge, GE is sponsoring GE Flight Quest Phase 2. You can learn more about it here.

Watch this video highlighting some of the winners discussing the GE Flight Quest challenge.