Airlines using predictive technology and AI to tackle disruption and improve the experience


Airlines and airports are investing in predictive technologies and articificial intelligence according to a new report from airline technology specialist SITA.

The ‘Future is Predictable’ study says half of airlines plan to adopt predictive tools with AI and cognitive computing built in in the next 10 years.

SITA Lab, the research arm of the organisation, is investing $2 million to develop disruption warning and prediction systems with five trials with airlines and airports planned for this year.

The lab is already using IBM Watson technology to draw information from pilot alerts, called NOTAMs, around potential hazards along a route as well as seeing how it can use Twitter and news feeds for insight.

SITA says it is making the issue of airline disruption a key priority following industry research revealing that it costs the industry $25 billion annually.

A second part of SITA Lab’s work is around delay-detection and prediction program and tests have already been carried out during a three-month trial using operational data from an Asia Pacific carrier.

The report also highlights how a number of airlines are already involved in different initiatives around improving the passenger experience and addressing disruption.

Emirates, for example, set up an Innovation Lab with Carnegie Mellon University just over a year ago as part of its transformation strategy. The airline wants to make sure it is making the best use of data and technology to improve processes as well as the customer experience.

It is also working with Oxford University’s Data Sciene Lab to gain better understanding of processes and customer preferences.

KLM is also hoping to improve the customer experience following a trial with AI-specialist Digital Genius whereby AI helps the airline answer queries it gets via social media.

Meanwhile, airports including London Gatwick and Heathrow are various projects on the go around predicting passenger flow as well as ensuring passengers make their connections.

SITA is not the only travel technology player to be tackling the airline disruption issue.

Amadeus unveiled its Schedule Recovery technology over a year ago and recently released a paper on airline disruption management. The GDS has been working with Qantas and Swiss on various elements of the technology.



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