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Qantas uses big data to improve efficiency

written by Chris Frame | June 7, 2016

Qantas 737-800Qantas is one of two carriers identified by global travel IT firm Amadeus as successfully using data analytics to improve operations.

A recent Amadeus discussion paper finds Qantas’s use of big data has allowed the Australian airline to combat disruptions with a high degree of success, achieving this by working with Amadeus to implement a travel recovery system which allows it to quickly respond to delays due to ATC or bad weather.

On any given day Amadeus’ schedule recovery tool allows Qantas to remove up to 300 minutes of flight delays from the initial ATC slot allocation, thus reducing the number of flights that would have been reported as being late due by 60 per cent, Amadeus says.


“Within the Qantas Operations Centre, we want better predictive analysis on what’s going to happen each day,” Qantas head of operations Paul Fraser said in a statement.

“If we see there’s an expected weather event in Sydney – rather than wait for it and react, we can go to our customers the night before. Then they can decide whether to, say, delay their meeting or take their chances. They are taking control of that choice, with analytics putting the decision back in the customer’s hands.”

Qantas’s long-term goal is to utilise these analytics to predict, rather than react to, operational issues, addressing them before they impact on the network.

“Today, if there’s an operational problem, then we react to this,” Fraser said. “We’d like to get to a predictive position, where we are using predictive analytics to look at probabilities around forecast conditions, our fleet, customer load and so on.”


Amadeus says analytics is allowing airlines to improve customer satisfaction and build profitability by transitioning to a customer-centric operational mindset.

“One of the clearest quick wins that analytics can create for travel companies is in operations,” explains Francisco Pérez-Lozao Rüter, senior vice-president, new businesses at Amadeus.

“For example, flight operations, gate allocation, disruption management and sequence planners – all of this is needed when there’s a storm, a mechanical issue or air traffic congestion. Data and analytics will help the airline react in the most efficient way, understand what created or caused the delay, and take action to prevent it in future.”

Avianca Brazil has also been utilising Amadeus’ analytics suite, with a focus on studying customer feedback as well as social media interactions.

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  • Elle D


    Big data, or more to the point, knowing how to analyse it, is one of the greatest improvements in business this decade. It is working wonders across healthcare, mining and now airlines. I am sure all carriers must be doing something in this area. What is Virgin doing?

  • Adrian P


    Is this about predicting a delay and therefore rescheduling a flight so it no longer flags up as a delay.

    Or is this about predicting a potential delay to maintain the original schedule?

  • Ben


    “Delay their meeting or take their chances”?? So you want the customers to be flexible not you?

    How’s about you offer them the chance to change flights so they then can be on time for the meeting regardless? Letting pax know their flight may be delayed the night before, but not offering alternatives is only going half way… recognising there is space available on earlier services and offering it as an option is fully taking advantage of the data!

  • Dave


    Ben – spot on! My thoughts exactly

  • Vannus


    To Ben & Dave………just a couple of thoughts…………….

    What you say maybe fine in the Domestic market, where there are constant flights within, say, 30 minutes, to a destination.

    Tad more difficult on International routes, as (a), not usually a ‘spare’ aircraft just ‘sitting around’, as fleet maximization is what is wanted, at all times. An aircraft ‘loses money’ whilst on the ground, & (b), there maybe only one flight a day to delayed flight’s destination.

    There’re many facets of an Airline, which are impacted by a flight’s delay. It’s the ‘mother’ of all ‘domino effects’!

  • Peter Wordsworth


    This reminds me of a phone call I received from Jetstar 3 days before my SYD-BNE flight advising it was cancelled due to “operational reasons.” The operator was unable to tell me what the operational reason was and her supervisor never bothered to call me as I requested.
    “…and no, you cannot transfer to a Qantas flight…that’s a different airline. “

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