Air Canada has introduced dedicated Artificial Intelligence (AI) Labs as part of its aim to leverage AI within operations and customer experience.

Air Canada has formed an AI Centre of Expertise (CoE), comprised of business leaders, data scientists, and data engineers who collaborate closely with universities and researchers. Air Canada hopes this will help it to deliver on its strategic roadmap and “become one of the most proactive and ambitious adopters of AI in Canada.”

Along with introducing AI Labs across the company, part of the CoE’s role is to introduce new ways of thinking about traditional problems.

The airline said AI will help it to understand complex patterns in a way “that would be impossible with traditional technologies.” The Boeing 737 Dreamliners generate over 500 gigabytes of data during a single flight, and the airline said that “only through the help of AI technologies can the airline leverage the full scope of this data to improve not only maintenance downtime, but also customer experience and operational performance.”

Air Canada already has a number of initiatives underway as it moves forward with modernising the passenger reservation system, re-imagining the loyalty programme, and transforming core operational processes.

Calin Rovinescu, Air Canada president and CEO said big data and AI are now “a big part of our business”. He gave the example of predictive maintenance for aircraft like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, allowing Air Canada to predict the maintenance of components before they are broken, to repair when the aircraft is less active.

He added: “Our new loyalty program will also make use of data that already exists for all of our frequent flyers. We know what their flying preferences are and that will enable us to combine relationship-management technology with loyalty management.”

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