Presented By O'Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
March 13–14, 2017: Training
March 14–16, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
San Jose, CA

Machine-learning opportunities within the airline industry

3:30pm4:00pm Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Business case studies, DTL, Strata Business Summit
Location: LL20 B Level: Beginner
Secondary topics:  Logistics

Rodrigo Fontecilla explains how many of the largest airlines use different classes of machine-learning algorithms to create robust and reusable predictive models to provide a holistic view of operations and provide business value.

Rodrigo offers an overview of how these models support day-to-day operations for the airlines. For instance, a day before flight operations, based on a reasonably accurate weather forecast for the next day, the probability of losing connections in hub airports for the specific airline is estimated. If the probability is above a threshold value, the airline reservation system will be involved to provide the number of possibly affected passengers. If that number is above a predetermined value, the passenger travel recovery system is involved to simulate the re-accommodation of these passengers on later flights. The predictive model provides the potential number of passengers that would need meals and/or hotel rooms or that would be eligible for a compensation (all based on airline-specific and legal rules).

Apart from being ready to take care of the affected passengers quicker if lost connections materialize, the airline learns the economic impact of a flight’s disruption and is better prepared to deploy its staff in a timely manner to handle the disruption in the airport. By getting this data in advance, the airline can decide if it’s worth re-accommodating the passengers on another airline. Rodrigo explores the business benefits of predicting lost connections to the airline and the airport, including the possibility of flying the most valuable passengers through other airline hubs if there is a high probability of losing the connection from the original passenger booking.

Photo of Rodrigo Fontecilla

Rodrigo Fontecilla


Rodrigo Fontecilla is vice president and global lead for analytics for Unisys Federal Systems, where he leads all aspects of software development, system integration, mobile development, and data management focused on the federal government. Rod is responsible for providing leadership, coordination, and oversight on all IT solutions, emerging technologies, and IT services delivery to the federal government. He has more than 25 years of professional experience in the capture, design, development, implementation, and management of information management systems delivering mission-critical IT solutions and has an extensive background and expertise in cloud computing, mobile development, social media, enterprise architecture, data analytics, SOA-based solutions, and IT governance.