How Predictive Analytics Can End Avoidable Delays And Increase Revenue For Airlines

Preventing aircraft downtime is valuable to everyone involved: from increasing profit margins for the CEO to improving the flying experience for passengers.

During the last decade, airlines have added conveniences to improve the flying experience. In-flight Wi-Fi allows you to check your email and text your mum, and you can use an app on your phone to check-in and pick your seat.

But for all those customer service improvements, airlines have been unable to end avoidable operations delays that customers hate and (more importantly) hurt airlines’ bottom lines the most. Annually, delays cost U.S. airlines $8.3 billion dollars in an industry where margins are already thin (and that’s just in the U.S. – not counting international airlines!).

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To have insights that forecast problems with aircraft and its operations before they occur (and speed recovery up when problems do happen), you need several things:

  1. Data from your entire operation, especially aircraft sensor data
  2. Connectivity
  3. Data science products that delivers insights your team can act on and fit into the processes you already have. 

The good news for airlines is they have a ton of the first (aircraft sensor data), are getting more of the second (connectivity) and Uptake can provide the third (data science products to deliver insights elegantly inserted in workflow).

Today, the average passenger jet generates 500 GBs of data every flight! Despite that massive amount of data, very little of that data is transferred off the plane.

More than 20 times as much data is generated PER DAY by ONE PLANE than all the data transmitted PER YEAR currently for ALL PLANES in the world combined. (Go ahead, read that sentence again. That isn’t a typo!)

That is beginning to change. By 2020, nearly all passenger aircraft will automatically transfer a rich copy of the black box data recording off the plane every time the plan lands. For many aircraft, today it is manually transferred off every two or three days as part of routine maintenance.

But simply transferring that time-series black box data isn’t enough to make airlines more reliable and productive. Unknown to the public, airline safety departments have long been using this data to help make air travel safer.

The opportunity in front of airlines now is to utilize this same black box data to deliver the actionable insights that predicts the health of a plane in the future for when and where airlines should perform specific maintenance before a problem occurs and causes a delay. Preventing this downtime is valuable to everyone involved: from increasing profit margins for the CEO to improving the flying experience for passengers.

Imagine a world where you don’t have to announce the flight is delayed while a mechanic replaces a faulty part. Where you don’t lose billions in revenue recovering from disruptions that could have been avoided or minimized. This is the world Uptake delivers with our software. We deliver productivity, reliability, safety and security outcomes across aviation and seven other industries.

Willie Cecil is the Aviation Center of Excellence director at Uptake, a SaaS-based predictive analytics company. Using data science models, Uptake’s software provides insights for airlines to identify maintenance problems in aircraft before they occur to avoid airport delays and improve the flying experience.

To learn more, contact us at [email protected] so we can deliver the conveniences that matter to your airline and your customers the most.