Etihad: Optimizing operations through data science


Etihad, an airline from the United Arab Emirates, has achieved the feat of not only successfully guiding its own operations through the pandemic. It has even managed to optimize its internal structures. It has been helped by the consistent use of data science.

Etihad: Digital transformation for more agility

The Abu Dhabi-based airline has been experimenting with IoT applications for years. Whether analytics tools powered by artificial intelligence (AI) or data lakes, Etihad has tried many things to make its own operations more efficient. They all aim to provide the best possible services to customers in a timely manner.

Too many cooks often spoil the broth

In the initial phase of digitization, the company still also relied on the simultaneous use of different providers in its transformation. A Cloudera platform and a data lake, among other things, were to help the company capture, analyze and evaluate its own data. But many different technologies in one solution made it more difficult to unify the diverse data pools than to support them.

Dataiku: Solutions from a single source

In order to ultimately achieve its goal of completely optimizing all business areas, the airline finally relied on just one provider. Dataiku was to succeed where it had failed before. Tapping into all the employees scattered around the world and their data reservoirs, loading them into a platform in order to derive savings and expansion potential from them.

ML and AI for passenger planning

Dataiku’s machine learning platform was able to deliver initial results very quickly. Among other things, they were able to make predictions about the number of passengers that could be expected for a certain period of time based on the values obtained.

This is relevant for internal management in that a certain number of staff must be planned in advance, depending on the volume and frequency of traffic. Often, only a small number of staff is permanently employed. Additional staff must be found and hired at very short notice. The Dataikus modeling with its visualizations for non-technical people could provide great support.

NLP for customer communication

Another area that required a quick and effective solution was that of customer communication. Customers usually do not want to wait long for urgent questions, be fobbed off by meaningless standard information, or be passed from one place to the next. Dataiku’s solution offered a remedy. Its email system used natural language processes (NLP) to assign all incoming emails to specific categories based on keywords. These in turn were forwarded as quickly as possible to employees with the necessary expertise in the respective area.

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