easyJet is using artificial intelligence to manage its flight schedule.

The budget airline carries more than 70m passengers a year, which generates a lot of data.

Alberto Villaverde, the company’s head of data science, has to make sense of all that information.

He told BusinessCloud that AI enables easyJet to use data to make predications rather than rely on guesswork.

“Traditional computing simply records and orders data whereas advanced computing using AI starts to use this data to predict and provide for future events,” he said.

“For example, predicting the failure of a component so that it can be replaced in a planned fashion, avoiding an unexpected failure which could cause a flight delay, or predicting the sort of demand for certain items of food and drink on each flight so that supplies match customer demand without running out or carrying an excess amount.”

easyJet plane

The results of this will be wide-reaching and AI will improve the airline’s efficiencies, bring down costs and drive customer satisfaction levels.

“We are using AI so we can make sense of the huge volume of data we receive from flying 200,000 passengers every day and making it work for us, making sense of patterns and trends so that we can make better future decisions,” said Villaverde.

It is the forward-thinking nature of AI that will ensure that the company continues to stay ahead of the game.

“Until now analytics has been about diagnostic capability and looking backwards,” he added.

“Now advanced AI is more focused on predictive capability so we can better understand the future and plan for it.”

Alberto Villaverde, easyJet

The company is already applying the results of AI across many areas of the business, from its flight schedule to its new Flight Club loyalty programme and the vast number of searches each year of the company’s website.

“AI can empower everyone alongside the organisation’s overall objectives,” he said.

“There are many challenges around data, around governance and how we integrate this technology alongside our people so it delivers benefits for our customers.”  

BusinessCloud heard recently how virtual reality will one day be used to entertain all air passengers and sell them duty-free products.

And Joakim Everstin, head of innovation at global airline solutions company Sabre, also said the increasingly online world could make air travel safer rather than dangerous.

BELOW: Flick through the August edition of BusinessCloud's interactive digital magazine

BusinessCloud digital edition