Getting under the skin of airline disruption

It seems airlines are finally turning their attention to disruption management from both the operations and even the passenger sides.

It’s long overdue considering the regular occurrence of system outages, weather incidents and other reasons that keep planes on the tarmac.

Incidents such as the United Airlines’s system failure late last week resulted in delays for more than 60 flights according to media reports and sparked fears of a cyber attack.

Delta suffered its own outage back in early August and figures from the Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Statistics reveal late arrivals for reasons attributed to the airlines are greater than weather or air-traffic related delays.

And, it’s a costly business with industry estimates putting an annual figure of $60 billion on it, about 8% of total airline revenue.

Then of course there’s the viral impact of a delay on other flights as pointed out in a paper released today by Amadeus called ‘Shaping the future of airline disruption management’.

The global distribution giant has its own reasons for putting a spotlight on the issue with its Schedule Recovery technology launched a year ago, and a pipeline for further developments in the area.

Qantas was the launch customer for the technology and the airline has pointed to some success so far with a greater than 60% reduction in delays by using the data analytics technology.

The Amadeus paper is timed for a discussion on disruption management at a panel session during IATA World Passenger Symposium this week in Dubai.

Another carrier, Swiss, has announced its own partnership with the GDS that makes the carrier the pilot customer for a passenger recovery technology.

Tnooz would be interested to hear what other carriers are doing but there are a number of questions around why airlines might be more amenable to action now when the desire to collaborate hasn’t been strong in the past.

Alongside cost, the report lists key drivers as rising passenger numbers, the very public nature of how incidents are played out and a generally more collaborative approach in terms of airline alliances and partnerships.

Amadeus IT Group strategic marketing director Rob Sinclair-Barnes says:

“There’s a big number at stake. Disruption can’t be removed but we can plan better and recover quickly so a portion of that $60 billion is realisable. It’s becoming a top area to resolve and improve.”

The report also talks in terms of a technological breakthrough about to happen in this area and Sinclair-Barnes says there are six or seven layers of technology that need to come together for it all to work.

Mobile is often seen as a way to tackle some of the issues and will no doubt play a role, especially in passenger re-accommodation.

However, those with good memories will remember the 2014 launch of the Amadeus Personal Disruption Companion. This has been shelved for the time being as airlines focus on other priorities.

It will be interesting to see if this and similar solutions will begin to resurface if airlines are indeed bringing it up the list of priorities for investment.

The Shaping the future of airline disruption management paper can be downloaded here.


Selling dreams, delivering nightmares, how airline personalisation helps

NB: Airline disruption image via BigStock.

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