Airline Industry Ready for Takeoff with Data and AI

By July 5, 2021

Generating revenues in a post-pandemic world 

No industry has been more devastated by COVID-19 than travel & transportation especially the airline companiesBy some estimates, 2020 saw a 60 percent decline in total global passengers and $315B loss in passenger revenue.  

As airlines look forward to recovery in 2021 and beyond, the industry will need time to ramp up. After months off the job, many pilots, maintenance crews and flights attendants will need to be re-certified. Planes that have been restructured for cargo transport will need to be reset for passenger travel. 

While business travel accounted for a large proportion of pre-pandemic, airline revenue most CFOs will not approve the volume of business travel taken prior to the pandemic. Airlines are looking for new ways to generate revenue in this competitive market.   

In the course of my work with a major airline company in Quebec, I partnered with them to accelerate their digital transformation to drive operational efficiency and a return to profitability in a post-pandemic world. 

Prioritizing passenger satisfaction with new technology 

We are seeing airlines in Canada and around the world using data analysis and AI from IBM to improve the passenger experience and streamline operations. For example, data analysis will help airlines predict which routes would be most lucrative and thus should open first as they begin to ramp up. 

Airline travel has changed, and airlines see the need to focus on customer service like never before. Digital transformation and integration of systems will allow airlines to deliver the right information, in real-time, for the best customer experience.  

For example, Air Canada recently launched a new cloud-based Web and mobile digital experience for Aeroplan, built in partnership with IBM. The integration of Web and mobility ensures a better loyalty experience for Aeroplan members – allowing them to easily enrol, check points, book flight rewards, and much more straight from their mobile device. 

IBM is also partnering with several airlines to create a digital health platform that will provide aviation employees with the tools they need to inform passengers about the testing and documentation needed before they board the plane.  

The sky is the limit with a partner you can trust 

A recent IDC report (1) reveals that 81 percent of companies surveyed in Quebec believe IBM is a trustworthy company, and 79 percent say that IBM understands their company needs.  And as a trusted IT service partner, IBM meets the evolving needs of our travel and transportation clients. We ensure that we have the key resources they need. For example, a client is currently faced with a difficult project, so we brought in a trusted partner for three months to provide the service and quality they were looking for.  

We also view our investment in employee education as essential because knowledgeable employees are our key asset. We work hard to stay one step ahead. 

By listening to the client needs and providing flexible solutions, we are committed to making the bold investments required to equip our Quebec clients with the services and resources they need to succeed. By accelerating digital transformation, the sky is the limit. 

Accelerate with IBM Consulting

Ingrid Desrosiers specializes in digital business transformation. She engages and collaborates with all her counterparts to innovate and bring the best solution to her client challenges. 

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(1) IDC, Canadian IT Services Brand Perceptions, 2020: Familiarity, Awareness, and Brand Associations, Doc # CA45672220, Dec 2020