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IATA Air Cargo Innovation Awards 2017

University of Cologne and Jettainer win Finalist Prize for Combining Artificial Intelligence with Big Data

Deutscher Innovationspreis 2017

The project “Innovative Decision Support System (DSS) for ULD management” − a joint effort by Jettainer (a subsidiary of Lufthansa Cargo AG) and University of Cologne / Prof. Schoder & Team – win the Finalist Prize at the IATA Air Cargo Innovation Awards 2017. The presentation and ceremony took place March 16, 2017, in Abu Dhabi, at the 11th IATA World Cargo Symposium. The worldwide IATA Air Cargo Innovation Awards aims at encouraging new ideas to enrich customer experience and/ or to improve competitiveness of air logistics.


The core of the innovation is a software solution, which Jettainer has developed in conjunction with the University of Cologne. The team from the University of Cologne headed by Professor Detlef Schoder, Department of Information Systems and Information Management, combines Artificial Intelligence with Big Data. The resulting software system significantly improves the management of the 95,000 Unit Load Devices (ULDs), i.e. containers and pallets, from 25 international airlines at about 500 airports around the globe. By continuously collecting and assessing large amounts of data, the system provides controllers with support for decisions on how the ULDs can be moved in the most efficient manner in global flows of traffic. The improved management contributes to significant savings of Kerosine and CO2: Where possible, movements on ground at the airports are preferred over flying in ULDs from remote locations.


„The potential of combining Artificial Intelligence with the expertise of human decision makers is very promising. We call it human-machine symbioses. The project is a prime example for it.” so Professor Schoder.


The University of Cologne has emerged as one of the winners from the German Excellence Initiative. The area Information Systems headed by Professor Detlef Schoder ranks top according to various research and practitioner criteria. Its premier focus is to enable corporations to cope with challenges of today’s Digital Transformation.


Jettainer is the world-leader in ULD management outsourcing services. Based in Raunheim, near Frankfurt Airport, Jettainer’s employees take care of managing an overall fleet of more than 95,000 ULDs for 25 airlines at more than 500 airports throughout the world.


A few days later, the same project also won the German Innovation award. Further information on this Award can be found here (in German).


Contact for more information:


Department of Information Systems and Information Management
Prof. Dr. Detlef Schoder
E-Mail: schoder(at)
Link the the department:


Jettainer GmbH
Martin Kraemer (Head of Marketing & PR)