Today, I have been as a member of a doctoral thesis tribunal at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Again, the doctoral thesis was structured into three scientific studies. In my opinion, it’s the best thesis and dissertation that I have seen in my life. The document has only 91 pages (included dedication, abstract, acknowledges and references), but you can find everything is needed about the research. Moreover, the presentation and the defense have been perfect. I can say that I have the perfect example about what a doctoral thesis must be.  I attach the reference of the doctoral thesis:

  • Title: Airline Route Networks: A Complex Network Approach
  • PhD Candidate: Oriol Lordan González
  • Advisors: Jose M Sallán; Pep Simo
  • Place and Date: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Monday April 14th,  2014.


Communication via air routes is an important issue in a world organized around a web-like city network. In this context, the robustness of network infrastructures, e. g. air transport networks, are a central issue in transport geography. Disruption of communication links by intentional causes (e.g., terrorist attack on an airport) or unintentional (e.g., weather inclemency) could be a serious drawback for countries, regions and airlines. Policymakers and the management of airlines and alliances should be able to reduce the effects of such interruptions in order to ensure good communication through air transport (i. e., maximize the robustness of their network at a reasonable cost). The literature review of the study of air transport route networks through an analysis of complex networks has highlighted a lack of contributions to the study of the topology and the robustness of such networks, which contrasts with advances undertaken for other transport networks or communica- tion systems. The literature survey suggests areas in which research should be undertaken, based on the existing literature in other areas and from three different perspectives: global route networks, airline alliances and airlines. The aim of this research is to develop a better understanding of air traffic and, in particular, to be able to assess the potential damage of any airport being inoperative for a continent, country or airline.

This thesis analyzes the topology and robustness of 3 proposed levels of study character- ized by different units of analysis: global route networks, airline alliances route network and air- lines route network. The different levels do not only represent different network magnitudes in number of nodes (airports) and links (routes), but also represent different approaches. In Chapter 2 robustness of the global air transport network (L1) will be analyzed and criteria based on Bonacich power centrality will be presented in order to assess attack vulnerability of complex networks. One of the outcomes of this study will be a list of the most critical airports for the vulnerability of the entire air transport network. In Chapter 3 robustness of alliances route network (L2) will be assessed comparing the robustness of the three ma- jor airline alliances (Star Alliance, oneworld and SkyTeam). To perform this analysis, one new node selection criterion based on the efficiency of networks and one new method of assessing vulnerability will be presented. This analysis will lead also to a comparison of the robustness of the three alliances. Finally, in Chapter 4 robustness of 10 FSCs and 3 LCCs route network (L2) will be analyzed. The studied FSCs belong to the different airline alliances showed in Chapter 3 thus allowing the comparison among levels. This chapter out- lines a comparison of the differences in robustness between FSCs and LCCs. In Chapter 5 a summary and discussion of conclusions obtained for each level will be carried out.