British Airways to use AI in efforts to improve operations



British Airways (BA) recently unveiled its strategic initiative to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) in automating various facets of its operations, with a particular focus on aircraft maintenance. According to a report from The Financial Times, BA intends to modernize its IT infrastructure and implement AI tools to predict potential faults in its planes. This proactive approach aims to facilitate preemptive repairs, minimizing the occurrence of in-flight issues and subsequently reducing delays.

The aviation industry is witnessing a growing trend of airlines adopting AI platforms to elevate customer experiences. Virgin Atlantic, for instance, is accelerating its own digital transformation by partnering with Amperity to manage data effectively.

The decision to integrate AI into maintenance operations follows BA’s history of enduring prolonged delays and system outages due to IT failures. The company’s executives have reportedly identified over 600 areas for improvement, signaling a comprehensive overhaul of the organization. The proposed changes, expected to unfold over the next three years, come with an estimated cost of around £7 billion (US$8.87 billion). Central to these plans is a significant reliance on technology to enhance IT infrastructure, decrease operational costs, and enhance overall customer satisfaction.

BA had previously been at the forefront of AI adoption, announcing in 2019 that it was among the pioneering airlines globally to deploy advanced AI and video technology to enhance flight punctuality. As part of a £6.5 billion (US$8.25 billion) investment, BA introduced a cutting-edge neural network trial at London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5. This system, equipped with cameras positioned around the aircraft, employs AI to compare live footage with the scheduled flight timeline. If any potential issues are detected that could lead to delays, an alert is triggered, enabling prompt management intervention.

Additional details regarding the company’s digital transformation endeavors are anticipated to be disclosed at the beginning of 2024. A spokesperson from BA conveyed, “We have ambitious plans to deliver a world-class experience for our customers at every stage of their journey. We’re initiating improvements across our business and eagerly anticipate sharing more details with our customers in the coming months.”