Air travel businesses embrace business intelligence

Business intelligence can be used to many ends, including enhancing the consumer experience, and a recently released study revealed just how the data analysis tools can be put to use for airlines and airports. SITA, an air transport IT and communications provider, looked into how air travel companies and airports are using business intelligence to enhance various areas of operations. The study, "Smart Thinking," revealed that 90 percent of airports are embracing a BI solution, while every airline involved in the study reported the same.

"We asked airlines and airports to measure themselves in four categories of business intelligence best practice for this index: data access and management, infrastructure, data presentation, and governance," SITA director Nigel Pickford said in a release. "Our analysis shows that on average, this industry is only halfway to achieving best-in-class, and further progress is needed."

Improve business intelligence reporting
Perhaps one way for airlines and airports to get the most out of business intelligence and data analysis is to invest in software that offers self-service BI and mobile BI options. These tools make it easy for anyone, not just IT experts, to access, manipulate and interpret data. Mobile analytics can help improve consumer-facing services such as flight statuses, security wait times and even directions to help them easily find airports and the correct gates, according to Bangkok Post.

Areas of focus for customer-facing BI
While flight status updates may already be widely prevalent for end-users, the study found that this service will be even more prominent by the end of 2016, becoming available for the majority of airports and airlines. In that same time frame, many will focus on adding other services – 79 percent of airports are looking to provide passengers with updates on security wait times and estimates on how long it will take to reach their gates. Additionally, 61 percent of airlines will push forward on baggage status notifications.

Long-term effects of offering these services
By harnessing a BI solution to improve the air travel experience for travelers, airlines and airports may also be able to gage the success of such initiatives. They may be able to track the amount of individuals taking advantage of these services to get a clearer picture of what strategies may be more successful than others. Say, for instance, that an airline offers mobile BI that lets passengers know if their flight status has changed. Data analysis could pinpoint how frequently consumers are using this service. If there is a decline in usage, it could indicate that the technology is not as accurate as it could be, giving companies the opportunity to make improvements in real time.

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