With one of its 300 aircraft taking off from
somewhere in the world every 90 seconds, British Airways runs a
hugely complex global operation, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
On Wednesday, BA’s
Chairman and CEO, Alex Cruz, laid down the challenge to artificial
intelligence experts to help him transform the customer journey.
Mr Cruz asked delegates at the AI Summit at
London Tech Week to help his team of 80 data scientists offer
customers new, intuitive services, change the way tickets are
sold, guarantee no bags are ever misplaced and replace airport
queues with virtual ones.
entrepreneurs and start-ups to submit proposals to International Airlines Group's (IAG) accelerator programme,
Hangar 51, which sees successful applicants embedded in the heart
of the business working side by side with an international team of
mentors and experts from across IAG. The 10-week accelerator
nurtures start-ups with a broad range of technologies, enabling
them to develop and test their products on a global scale.
Mr Cruz also outlined some of the advancements
the airline is making using AI to improve the service it offers
Via Hangar 51, British Airways is currently
working with technology start-up Assaia. Its intelligent software
captures on video every moment from when an aircraft arrives at
the airport to its departure, helping airline workers to see the
numerous tasks going on around the aircraft (fuelling, cleaning,
baggage and catering loading and unloading) and alerting them to
issues that could delay the flight's departure.
British Airways is also trialing driverless
vehicles at Heathrow so that in the future the luggage of
customers travelling on flights from Terminal 5 will be driven
from baggage belts to aircraft on driverless baggage trucks,
saving costs and potentially speeding up the delivery of bags.
As our skies become busier, British Airways is
trialing a computer system which looks at flight plans, pulls up
to the minute data from the Global Air Traffic Control database,
and suggests quicker routes – reducing delays for customers.
The airline’s team of AI specialists has also designed and created
machine learning algorithms to adjust the volume of fresh food
being loaded onto individual flights to help meet customer demand
and minimise waste.
important that we deliver the best service to our customers and
that's why we are looking for the best people to help us. We have
a big team of specialists but British Airways and IAG Digital are
open to new ideas about how we can use AI to try to reduce flight
delays, eliminate airport queues or create a more personalised
service for our customers - providing them with relevant
in-the-moment travel updates or a unique service, like reserving
their favourite seat or serving their favourite meal," said Mr.