How Airlines Will Use Data To Perform Better Next Year

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As carriers enter the third quarter of this year, they will be thinking ahead and making forecasts of the aviation industry. Airline data will, therefore, play a crucial role in the market in 2021 as it strives to bounce back following one of its most challenging years ever.

Plane with sun at sunset
In this era of transition, the slightest bit of information could prove to be valuable. Photo: Getty Images

Changing circumstances

Historically, data analytics required a lot of expertise. Usually, only a handful of people in the organization can actually answer particular questions because they’re extremely specialized Ph.D. statisticians that have been hired to perform intricate analysis. However, in the fast-paced changing market that has been rocked from top to bottom, heading into next year, decisions need to be made quicker than ever.

Simple Flying spoke with Alteryx’s vice president of EMEA, Alan Gibson, about the importance of data heading into next year. His company provides data software for many airlines across the globe, from Southwest Airlines to Copa Airlines, and has helped them save several millions of dollars over the years.

SOUTHWEST GETTY
Amid the groundings, airlines have to find ways to come back stronger. Photo: Getty Images

The company is seeing patterns in the second half of the year. Airlines are understanding that it is a new world that we are living in. Even though it still unpredictable, three months ago, there was considerably more concern about how organizations can get essential answers. Critically, they needed to know what had to be done to even keep the lights on in their offices.

Now, there’s a sense of stability heading to the end of the year. They at least now have expectations of what the future is going to look like. Operators are starting to rationalize the tools that they have and the technologies that they’ve invested in. Additionally, they’re now looking to streamline these features into common platforms that provide broader access across the company.

Copa Airlines Getty
Airlines are slowly getting planes back in the skies. Photo: Getty Images.

Helping to plan ahead

History has great input into predictive models to understand how things may happen in the future. However, understanding and documenting that information is going to be a great factor heading into next year as the market continues to move in the right direction.

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Gibson highlights that airlines can ingest data from a wide variety of resources, whether they have financial data or information in their loyalty databases that they want to look at. Historical flight information and details in loyalty programs can also play a key role. Altogether, there are countless factors that carriers can filter through and evaluate by using Alteryx’s platform.

“It could be sensor data on airplanes. It could be sentiment analysis if you’re on the marketing side and trying to bring in information from Twitter and trying to see what your customers are saying about you. Then trying to determine how you may want to react to certain situations in that manner,” Gibson told Simple Flying.

“It really is sort of up to the imagination of what kind of questions do you want to ask. The challenge to it all is, do you have the data and is the data right? Is the data accessible, and is it in a format that can be consumed?”

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Southwest Airlines, Basic Economy, Gary Kelly
There are several aspects to consider when it comes to maintaining healthy airline operations. Photo: Getty Images

Vital factors at play

For a lot of organizations that have not advanced themselves far enough yet, they face difficulties of just getting off the ground and obtaining their data, then making it accessible to the people that do have questions in the company.

Ultimately, the difference between those that excel or suffer in this post-pandemic realm could be how they cultivate their data as every penny could count after all the losses reported so far in 2020. Solutions such as Alteryx’s make it easier for operators to access this crucial information.

Above all, with the conditions of the market constantly changing, airlines will be looking to focus on their strengths and cut their losses. Already, we are seeing carriers refocus their operations and emerging as smaller outfits than before. Streamlined networks, reorganized workforces, fuel-saving measures, new pricing models, and revised marketing campaigns, are just some of the many initiatives that we will see next year as a result of careful data analysis.

What are your thoughts about how airlines are using data to be in a better position for next year? Do you also feel that data is crucial for companies in this new climate? Let us know what you think of these processes in the comment section.

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