KLM & BCG extend partnership for digital airline operations

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Reducing delays and improving operational efficiency simultaneously: taking airline operations to the next level with AI

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) announced the extension of their partnership that was officially established in 2018 and was the first to launch on the market a suite of tools delivering integral planning and control for airline operations.

KLM and BCG’s approach to optimizing airline operations as a whole and at the same time, across time horizons and departmental silos, leverages a custom-built suite of digital tools paired with business transformation capabilities to ensure the tools are used daily by frontline staff in operations, crew, and hub control. Using machine learning, artificial intelligence, and advanced optimization techniques, the state-of-the-art digital solutions help the users optimize complex decisions relating to fleet, crew, ground services, and network, and deliver the best customer experience to passengers. To achieve results in just a few months and to avoid the need to commit to a platform solution that locks airlines in, these solutions don’t require replacing any core systems. The airlines’ IT teams are included in the journey from the start, and eventually, all systems are handed over to those teams.

Proven results

These solutions have improved KLM’s operational metrics across the board, such as the number of flights delayed more than 30 minutes or missed passenger connections by up to 40%, and have supported the increase in KLM’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) from 38 in 2015 to 41 in 2019.

During the COVID-19 crisis, these tools and capabilities enabled KLM and other global airlines to be more nimble in the face of unprecedented volatility in the market and operations. For example, by adapting existing tools to support fleet allocation decisions based on the latest passenger data, KLM achieved a 3% reduction in CO2 emission per passenger kilometre within its European Network.

In the past three years, the KLM–BCG partnership has also deployed its tailored solutions at leading carriers globally. After Delta Air Lines (the inaugural customer), the partnership expanded its customer base to several airlines across Latin America, Europe, and Asia, within the SkyTeam Alliance and beyond (e.g., GOL and Virgin Atlantic).

Thanks to the existing suite of tools and the in-house capabilities that we have built up in recent years, KLM was able to derive a lot of value from its Operations Decision Support set of tools in 2020, just like in the years before. Our partnership with BCG is one of the building blocks to deliver on our ambition to become the world leading data and technology driven airline and I am extremely excited about having extended this unique cooperation.

René de Groot, Chief Operating Officer KLM

As we build industry leading digital capabilities to support our operations, partnering with KLM-BCG has been a key to accelerating this build across technology, process, and implementation. We are excited to continue this journey and collaboration with the KLM-BCG partnership to ensure we continue to deliver world-class operational performance for our passengers in both blue sky and disrupted days.

Erik Snell, Delta Air Lines SVP Operations and Customer Center

We are thrilled to continue this one-of-a-kind partnership with KLM. Over the last few years, our mutual track record of innovation and complementary experience has seen our partnership go from strength to strength and has proven very successful in the market. Together, we look forward to continuing to provide airlines around the world with innovative tools that will help them emerge stronger out of the COVID-19 crisis.

Jason Guggenheim, Global head van Travel and Tourism BCG
Amstelveen, 10  June 2021

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