Airlines Are Flying High On Big Data

A couple of decades earlier, an airplane was just one of the modes of transport. The scenario has completely changed now. Today, they are pushing terabytes of data, too.

Big Data Analytics is especially important in the aviation industry as there is no physical access to the testing environment.

The aviation industry has embraced big data in more ways than one expected.

Cabin crews can’t fix tech hitches on the go and only the biggest airports have maintenance teams.

Big Data analytics solutions predict the probability of a plane being delayed or canceled due to technical hitches. It also predicts aircraft engine parts failures as aircraft engine part replacements are among the most common and critical maintenance tasks in the aviation industry.


Fuel Efficiency

According to fuel expenses is around 20%  in total operational costs for airline companies and they are desperate to bring it down.

Airlines are now using big data in aviation to help squeeze new efficiencies into their fuel usage.

Computing power has developed to the point where airlines can gather and process the vast amounts of data. This data helps them to analyze fuel usage on a per-trip basis.

Southwestern Airlines, for one,  collects data directly from sensors embedded in its aircraft. The airline hopes that this data mining will produce actionable intelligence around decisions.

For example, adding or subtracting flights to routes, setting fuel loads for each aircraft, and selling additional passenger tickets.

Big Data in Airline Fuel Efficiency

Big Data in Airline Fuel Efficiency

Similarly, Qantas Airways also started using big data to provide decision support to its own pilots as part of its FlightPulse aviation analytics system.


Smart and Safe Flights

On an average, a 6-hour flight from one country to another collects about 240 terabytes of information from the plane. Inspecting and analyzing this goes a long way in improving the safety of the flight.

Boeing uses analytics to look at 2 million conditions each day across 4,000 airplanes as part of its Airplane Health Management (AHM) system. This information, includes in-flight measurements, mechanic write-ups, and in-shop findings. It helps the company to plan equipment maintenance with minimal disruption to flights.

For example, data analytics predicted the failure of an integrated drive generator, allowing it to investigate and correct the issue before it became a problem. That saved up to $300,000 in service delays and repair costs.


Improved Marketing Efforts

Airlines are constantly competing with one another to see a smile on their customer’s faces. There is no better way to achieve this than to shower you, the customer, with customized offers.

Instead of simply identifying its most successful products, airlines use big data to explore each customer’s buying habits.

For example, recently United Airlines made a switch from the age-old ‘collect and analyze’ method to a smarter ‘collect, detect, act’ approach.

This system analyses around 150 variables in each customer’s profile, right from previous travel details to your purchases and priorities. The details are analyzed in a fraction of a second and custom made offers are presented to you.

This approach has shot up United Airlines’ annual revenue by 15%.

Checking real-time baggage status

The nightmare of losing baggage is very common in commercial airlines. To counter this, Delta Airlines has introduced a novel application for baggage tracking.

Big Data in Baggage

Big Data in Baggage

The app simply uses baggage check data which runs in the background and the staff members at Delta keep a track of the bags and send the tracker to the customers. This app has been a huge success and close to 11 million customers have downloaded it in their phones.


Final Words

There are many areas in the airline industry which can be tapped by big data solutions in a much better way. Marketing, crew and flight operations and aerial cargo are some of them.

Big data solutions help the airlines to understand their customers individually, their preferences, their behavioral patterns and also predict the requests that might come up.

The future of the aviation industry will be defined by the ability to obtain and process the huge amount of consumer data, by offering personalized and tailor-made interaction with consumers. It will also reduce redundant variability for airline companies and airports.

Big data is not only changing the airlines industry but also many other industries. The futuredata-driveniven and every business should be ready to face it with the right resources.