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easyJet appoints first Head of Data Science to accelerate airline’s use of artificial intelligence

easyJet appoints first Head of Data Science to accelerate airline’s use of artificial intelligence
easyJet appoints first Head of Data Science to accelerate airline’s use of artificial intelligence featured image
17 / 11 / 2015

easyJet, Europe's leading airline has appointed its first Head of Data Science to accelerate its already industry leading use of artificial intelligence.  AI will help to improve efficiency, reduce cost and increase revenue and customer satisfaction by further improving a number of areas including easyJet's flight schedule, fleet reliability, inflight food and drink choice and the airline's new Flight Club loyalty programme. 

AI works by using computer programmes to analyse huge pools of data - eg the 170 million items of food and drink carried in aggregate annually across all of easyJet's flights, the 1.5 billion hours flown each year by the components on its fleet of aircraft or the 1.3 billion searches of easyJet.com over the course of the last 12 months. 

Traditional computing simply records and orders such data whereas advanced computing using AI starts to use this data to predict and provide for future events.  For example predicting the failure of a component so that it can be replaced in a planned fashion avoiding an unexpected failure which could cause a flight delay.   Or predicting the sort of demand for certain items of food and drink on each flight so that supplies match customer demand without running out or carrying an excess amount.

Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s CEO, explained the strategy behind AI acceleration: 

“Since our launch 20 years ago easyJet has always taken advantage of innovation and leading edge technology to continually improve our business.  Tapping into the huge potential of AI by accelerating our use of data science right across the airline will improve our efficiency, bring down costs, increase revenue and drive greater customer satisfaction.” 

Alberto‎ Rey-Villaverde, Head of Data Science for easyJet, commented: ‎‎

"easyJet is a large but relatively simple airline.  We are the fourth largest airline in Europe but all bookings are made through easyJet.com, we fly one aircraft type and we only fly short haul.  This combination of simplicity and scale produces an enormous amount of data.   

“AI can make sense of this huge volume of data and make it work for us, making sense of patterns and trends and help us provide for them.‎‎

“To date analytics has been about diagnostic capability and looking backwards.   Now advanced AI is more focused on predictive capability so we can better understand the future and plan for it.” 

Other areas in which AI will be applied include easyJet's flight schedule to ensure it best meets passenger demand, developing easyJet's new Flight Club loyalty programme to offer more features to retain easyJet's frequent flyers or using the vast number of searches each year of easyJet.com to better understand and provide for customer demand - through optimising destinations and flight times.

easyJet has a leadership position in AI after applying the technology five years ago to its revenue management system which sets fares by being attuned to and responding to movements in passenger demand‎‎‎.  The airline already has around 25 analysts who are trained in data science.  This has enhanced their capabilities and helped them design smarter tools to do their jobs. ‎  

Innovation is in easyJet’s DNA – from the airline’s launch almost 20 years ago when it changed the way people fly to the present day where easyJet leads the industry in digital, web, engineering and operational innovations to make travel more easy and affordable for passengers.   easyJet is currently working on a range from innovations from ‎its AVOID ash detection technology, uniforms incorporating wearable technology, aircraft inspections by automated drones and exploring the application of other new technologies like 3D printing.

Ends

For further information, please contact the easyJet Press Office on 01582 525252, log onto www.easyjet.com or follow @easyJet_Press

About easyJet:

easyJet is Europe’s leading airline offering a unique and winning combination of the best route network connecting Europe's primary airports, with great value fares and friendly service. 

easyJet flies on more of Europe’s most popular routes than any other airline. easyJet carries over 68 million passengers annually, of which around 12 million are travelling on business. easyJet flies over 240 aircraft on more than 780 routes to over 130 airports across 31 countries. More than 300 million Europeans live within one hour's drive of an easyJet airport.  

easyJet aims to be a good corporate citizen, employing people on local contracts in seven countries across Europe in full compliance with national laws and recognising their trade unions. The airline supports a number of local charities and also has a corporate partnership with UNICEF which has raised over £6m for the most vulnerable children since it was established in 2012.  

The airline takes sustainability seriously. easyJet invests in the latest technology, operates efficiently and fills most of its seats which means that an easyJet passenger's carbon footprint is 22% less than a passenger on a traditional airline, flying the same aircraft on the same route. 

Innovation is in easyJet’s DNA – from our launch almost 20 years ago when we changed the way people fly to the present day where we lead the industry in digital, web, engineering and operational innovations to make travel more easy and affordable for our passengers. 

 

Images
Alberto Villaverde