In September 2017, large carriers as diverse as British Airways, Lufthansa, and Quantas were delayed on the back of a network problem. Four months prior to that, IAG SA’s three day computer crash led to the grounding of 75000 passengers, costing $77 million in compensation. In 2016, a five-hour data center outage at Delta cost $150 million, but unlike Delta, not all airlines have the income necessary to carry losses that hefty. After years of redundancies and pay cuts, Monarch airlines has collapsed, preceded by the insolvency of Alitalia and Air Berlin.
While terrorism was a major factor in the British company’s challenges, it highlights the struggles of an industry that Warren Buffet once called a “death trap for investors.” Expenses are rising almost as steeply as security threats, so few can afford the losses associated with inadequate IT infrastructure. The direst loss related to these kinds of outages is less immediate than grounded passengers: they cause a public relations nightmare that can impact a brand for years.
Overcoming the Challenge
The aviation industry is among the most data-heavy industries in existence. Many airlines are struggling to process and manage the amount of information required of them, a situation that CEO Josh Marks suggests should be handled the way Amazon does: by tracking fares, bounce rates, and insights before storing it in the cloud. An airtight, automated data storage strategy can cut down drastically on downtime by weighing less heavily on on-site storage. In return, the analytics you gather will inform your demographic information and allow you to collate data that reduces ramp conflicts and the like.
The age of big data demands scalability. It’s been said that every company is a tech company. Network issues and downtime might not down literal planes, but it will cost you significant losses in an age where business relies on communications and data networks.