KLM and BCG extend their digital airline operations partnership

06 July 2021 Consultancy.eu 3 min. read

Three years after commencing their partnership, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Boston Consulting Group have extended their collaboration in the domain of airline operations.

In the summer of 2018, the Dutch airline and global strategy consulting firm agreed what they described as a “pioneering artificial intelligence partnership” that would “revolutionise global airline operations”. Together, the two companies developed a proven offering (tested internally within KLM in the years previous) that applies artificial intelligence to enhance the operations of airlines.

The offering focuses on improving operations in its slipstream benefiting customer facing processes, explained René de Groot, KLM’s Chief Operating Officer. “Using artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced optimisation techniques, the state-of-the-art digital solutions help the users optimise complex decisions relating to fleet, crew, ground services, and network, and deliver the best customer experience to passengers.” 

KLM and BCG extend their digital airline operations partnership

At KLM, notable results of the tech-driven proposition include: enhancing the efficiency of maintenance repair & overhaul planning, reducing the number of flights delayed more than 30 mins, and reducing the percentage of missed passenger connections by up to 40%. According to the airline, these and more benefits stood at the basis of an increase in KLM’s net promoter score. 

Following external launch, several airlines decided to fly in the KLM - Boston Consulting Group partnership, including Delta Air Lines (the inaugural customer), Virgin Atlantic, several airlines within the SkyTeam Alliance, and further afield Brazilian carrier GOL.

Covid-19 resilience

Meanwhile, during the Covid-19 crisis, which had an unprecedented impact on airline travel and hence carrier financials, the joint proposition helped KLM and other participating airlines “to be more nimble and agile”, among others through enhanced fleet and passenger planning capabilities and optimisation of aircraft maintenance. 

“Thanks to the existing suite of tools and the in-house capabilities that we have built up in recent years, KLM was able to derive a lot of value from its AI-driven set of tools. Our partnership with BCG is one of the building blocks to deliver on our ambition to become the world leading data and technology driven airline and I am extremely excited about having extended this unique cooperation,” said De Groot. 

Jason Guggenheim, Global Head of the Travel and Tourism practice at Boston Consulting Group, added: “Over the last few years, our mutual track record of innovation and complementary experience has seen our partnership go from strength to strength and has proven very successful in the market. Together, we look forward to continuing to provide airlines around the world with innovative tools that will help them emerge stronger out of the Covid-19 crisis.”