KLM and The Boston Consulting Group unveil AI tools to power airline operations

By Johan De Mulder

Artificial intelligence looks set to transform airline operations after the announcement of a major new partnership between KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The pair have unveiled a new state-of-the-art solution that will result in the complete digitisation of KLM's commercial aviation processes through AI, machine learning and advanced optimisation, addressing all elements of airline operations.

Through common teams made up of employees from KLM's Operations Decision Support and Operations frontline staff, BCG's Airline practice, and members of BCG Gamma (an AI & Advanced Analytics entity of over 450 world-class data scientists, data engineers, and software developers), KLM will be able to tackle the most complex decisions pertaining to fleet, crew, ground services and network.

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With the technology having undergone a successful trial at KLM, the Dutch aviator and BCG hope to roll out the suite of tools across the industry over the coming years.

"I am excited about this partnership with BCG. We share the vision that operations as a cost centre and a purely executional role is a thing of the past," said Rene de Groot, KLM's Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer.

"For KLM, this partnership also strengthens the digital-focused strategy we have developed over the past several years and is a key move to becoming the most customer-centric, innovative, and efficient network carrier. In the fast-paced aviation industry, the successful companies will be those who build the right strategic partnerships to accelerate innovation, growth, and customer value."

Nicolas Boutin, Head of BCG’s Airline practice, added: "Today’s announcement brings together two visionary industry leaders, with complementary cultures and track records for innovation. We have worked with KLM for many years. Our partnership will drive growth for both companies, stimulate a unique value for customers worldwide, and be an incredible innovation boost for the industry."

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