Comment: AI will have a far-reaching impact on aviation

Mitrankur Majumdar, senior vice-president and global head of services at Infosys, looks at how artificial intelligence is transforming the sector

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being discussed in every industry around the world and with good reason. For airlines in particular, it’s transforming the industry. We’re entering a new era of efficiency, sustainability and enhanced customer experiences. This transformative technology has been instrumental in addressing critical challenges faced by the industry, ranging from customer experience, operational effectiveness and safety.

One of the areas where AI is making a positive impact is in sustainable and profitable business practices. AI offers a solution through technologies such as GenAI-based maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) systems. These systems are built on comprehensive airline tech-publications, enabling them to streamline and optimise maintenance processes. For instance, a GenAI MRO solution can significantly reduce the time technicians spend finding information about parts and operating procedures.

Apart from operational efficiency, it also helps streamline spares supply chain, which in turn also contributes to the overarching goal of sustainability by ensuring engines and parts are available at right depots, thus avoiding downtime and bringing fleet back to service. By embracing AI-driven sustainable practices, airlines can improve their on time performance reputation and also show commitment to environmental responsibility.

AI is also being used in customer service, and it’s reshaping the way airlines interact with their passengers. AI-driven contact centre solutions analyse previous customer interactions, along with real time conversation intonations, allowing front line agents to understand customer intents and provide tailored solutions.

This reduces call waiting times, also enhances customer satisfaction, drives revenue and NPS scores. In the long run, by offering personalised offers and ancillaries such as seats, Wi-Fi, meals through AI generated recommendations , airlines open up new revenue streams. AI reinforces airlines contact centres to build stronger relationships with their guests to create a positive and lasting impression.

Another area where AI is making significant inroads is in baggage handling and customer loyalty. AI-based predictive analytics can forecast potential issues with baggage handling, which can help reduce customer complaints, baggage loss and compensation costs. This helps streamlines operations, and enhances customer loyalty by preventing the frustration associated with lost or delayed luggage. AI can now detect probable missed bags, and give fairly accurate forecast of when travellers will get their bags back in case of unavoidable situations.

The use of AI in the airline industry goes beyond operational efficiency and fare management, to the entire aviation value chain. It addresses key challenges such as sustainability, customer service, safety and customer loyalty. As airlines continue to embrace and invest in artificial intelligence, they position themselves not only for improved efficiency but also for a more sustainable and customer-centric future.

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