When it comes to optimizing operations, airlines typically face five challenges:

01. Silos

Many airlines operate with a single-department mentality in planning and execution. Operations and commercial planning do not coordinate, KPIs are addressed in isolation, analytics do not work across functions, and individual teams add their own buffers. The recent crisis has highlighted the need for airlines to become more agile and flexible; this cannot be done with a silo mentality.

02. Missing insights

When disruptions occur, airlines have trouble tracking causes and evaluating the impact of their potential decisions or scenarios even in review, let alone in real time. They have to rely on multiple data sources which often aren’t coordinated, don’t speak the same language, or even show the same truth. Post mortem meetings and reports focus on specific incidents or averages rather than the big picture, due to a lack of contextual data.

03. Lack of System Focus

Taking a systemwide point of view rather than looking at incidents in isolation enables many more options and solutions to solve issues and disruption. However, this requires real-time access to information and being able to rely on a single source of truth to empower frontline staff to make the right on-the-spot decisions—both for the company overall and for the customer.

04. Outdated IT

It’s easy for software to lose pace with the growing complexity of business needs, especially for companies with multiple hubs in multiple jurisdictions, or in times of crisis requiring more flexibility. Outdated IT systems do not provide real intelligence or run optimization algorithms, and limit the potential for working in a nimble and agile manner.

05. Mindset

Airlines traditionally focus on their investments in fleet and digital innovations in commercial areas. Operations is still identified as a cost center only, while in fact it has the potential to boost both customer and employee satisfaction—in addition to financial results.


Additionally, the COVID-19 crisis has brought some additional challenges for airlines. Read more and see examples of how airlines have tackled this unprecedented situation.

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