Air Canada introduces Artificial Intelligence Labs to improve operations and customer experience


AI has become a key part of Air Canada’s strategy to move forward on a series of initiatives that will help shape the airline’s future.

Air Canada has introduced dedicated Artificial Intelligence Labs to deliver on its ambition to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) within its operations and customer experience.

The airline explains that AI has become a key part of its strategy to move forward on a series of initiatives that will help shape its future.

“Big data and AI are now a big part of our business,” said Calin Rovinescu, Air Canada President and CEO. “One example is predictive maintenance from our modern aircraft, like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. In addition to our normally scheduled checks, we can now predict maintenance of components not yet broken, to repair when the aircraft is less active.

“This way, we can do other work that we know we’re likely to have an issue with, that would not come into the regular cycle. Our new loyalty programme 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.”

AI will help Air Canada understand complex patterns in a manner that would be impossible with traditional technologies. The Boeing 787 Dreamliners generate over 500 gigabytes of data during a single flight. Using AI technologies, Air Canada will be able to leverage the full scope of this data to improve maintenance downtime, customer experience and operational performance.

Moreover, Air Canada’s ambition is to become Canada’s AI employer of choice within three years, and within five years, the airline plans to leverage AI throughout the organisation to ensure competitive advantage within the global airline industry.

As a starting point, the carrier has formed an AI Centre of Expertise (CoE), comprised of business leaders, data scientists and data engineers who collaborate closely with universities and researchers. This will help Air Canada deliver on their 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.

Air Canada has a number of major initiatives already underway as the company moves forward with modernising its passenger reservation system, re-imagining its loyalty programme, and transforming core operational processes. Using AI, the airline is hoping to fully leverage these investments.