25 Apr 2018

Farelogix develops ‘farm team’ for airline data scientists

Farelogix, the provider of airline merchandising technology, and Florida International University have formed an advanced training program called Data Science for Airlines Informatics (DSAI).

The program, which will open next month, is part of FIU’s School of Computing and Information Sciences and focuses on airline data analytics and decision sciences.

It will be dedicated to the study and implementation of advanced predictive analytics for the airline industry, using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

Graduate students will work collaboratively with the Farelogix data and analytics team to develop new data models for optimizing airline revenue management and generating dynamic offers.

Farelogix CEO Jim Davidson put another way:

“A group of people will look at the airlines as cool places to work.”

That hasn’t been the case for the last few years, and it hasn’t always been easy to compete for young talent with the likes of Google or Facebook.

A lot of the graduate students have expensive educations and big egos, Davidson said. But a lot of them also have backgrounds in retail – particularly large operations such as Target and Walmart — and that meshes nicely with the current ambitions of the airlines.

As the airlines move into the world of artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics, the need for talent becomes critical. Farelogix plans to recycle some of the students’ retailing knowledge and skills to incorporate those elements into airline revenue management and offer creation. That’s the “new frontier” for airline commerce, Davidson said.

So he decided to work with FIU to create a sort of farm team. Students working in the DSAI program will use machine learning and AI to explore how the vast amounts of data being generated in the airline industry can be used to understand trends, predict behaviors and take autonomous action to create and deliver high-value airline offers.

Activities will focus on areas such as fare bundles, personalized ancillary bundles and seat offers, at price points that are both compelling to customers and optimized for the airline.

The students are reacting favorably, Davidson said. “They are chomping at the bit,” ready to delve into making better predictions “and so much more.”