Indonesia’s aviation industry currently sees a bright future ahead. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), in 2034, Indonesia will be projected to become the sixth of the biggest growth in the aviation industry. The number of passengers will be predicted to increase up top 270 million per year—three times bigger than in 2016.
On the other hand, it goes without saying that globally, the aviation industry is facing up to the threat and opportunity of disruption in terms of competition, technology, regulation, distribution channels, and customer behavior.
So, how Indonesian airlines will face this challenge and opportunity?
For Citilink, as one of Indonesia’s fastest-growing low-cost airlines, it’s the right time to start making the most out of technology to turn those challenges and disruptions into their advantage. This includes data utilization which would help them to set the tone and create a data culture in the aviation industry in Indonesia.
The aviation industry is known as a competitive industry. In order to stay relevant in this industry, Achmad Royan as Vice President of Information Technology Citilink believes that each airline must have a unique value of a proposition. Since we’re now living in the digital era, airlines must have a better understanding of technology so that they are able to harness it whether to find out more about their customer or look on where position they belong between competitors.
That’s actually what Citilink has been trying to do. They have this particular system and application to operate day-to-day process so that all data can be stored efficiently.
However, as one of the low-cost airlines in Indonesia, Citilink obliged to keep the cost structure as low as possible. Start with the IT department. With less than 15 team members, Royhan leads the IT department to make sure that each innovation and development of IT will be able to support Citilink directly. That is why Citilink has started the migration from its IT infrastructure to the cloud-based service.
Citilink has started the cloud migration process since 2011. By the end of 2014, all of the airline’s infrastructures have already been stored in the cloud. Since then, Royhan and his team have been able to handle many situations with better management. When the peak season comes, they can just set the CPU and memory levels. After that, the cloud system will automatically scale up the system and collect the data. It’s much more efficient.
The Data Utilization
Once the system and infrastructure are settled, Citilink’s next move is to build a data culture within their company. They want to embrace the culture where they could utilize big data to help them make an important decision.
Actually, Royhan has started to build a data culture in Citilink since 2013. At that time, he made a report based on the analysis of the Citilink’s delay level. From this report, Royhan found out that most of the delayed Citilink’s flights happen because of the external factor, which was the lack of infrastructure in the airport. One of the problems is the number of runways which is limited and creates a long queue.
Thanks to Royhan’s analysis report. Citilink’s management has realized how important to implement the data utilization. They even issued an instruction for all units to start utilizing data. It’s actually a very good start.
On the other hand, it becomes a new challenge for the IT department team. In order to assure that the data utilization runs smoothly, all units must use the existed application so that all data can be integrated into one platform only.
Once the data is integrated, the IT department will help each business unit to look for the most insightful data. In return, Royhan and his team will receive many reviews and feedbacks from all units to create a better data utilization pattern within the company. Therefore, Citilink forms a data analyst team to help the key user in each unit. As for the result, Citilink able to get many insights to help them create better strategies in the future.
For Citilink, there are at least two sectors that need the big data analytics more than the others, which are operational and sales. In the operational sector, Citilink harnesses the data to help them improve their punctuality service on both the Airbus and crew settings.
Meanwhile, the sales sector uses the data of average seat per kilometre (ASK) to give the most efficient cost on each flight route. Moreover, based on the data from the online travel agent (OTA), Citilink able to get a better understanding about their customers, from which payment channels they use the most to which cities drive the lowest sales.
The data utilization helps all Citilink’s business units to work together in better sync. For example, the marketing team downloads the data from an online booking site. They take a look at this data to find out if there’s an increase in the demand for Jakarta-Yogyakarta flight route. Next, they will share this knowledge in real-time to the network-planning team. This insight will be used to make a better adjustment to the flight schedules so that all demands can be fulfilled.
Huge Investment to Bring Cloud Services and Data Analytics
At this point, you might wonder how Citilink makes it look so easy to migrate to the cloud services and utilize the data analytics. One thing for sure: there’s actually a huge investment Citilink has made.
Bisnis.com reports that in 2016, Citilink had prepared a 10 billion IDR worth of investment to perform a digital transformation through cloud computing and big data analytics. One of Citilink’s moves is pioneering the movement of day-to-day operations and management data to Microsoft Azure. This allows Citilink’s internal IT team to focus on assisting management with rolling out a new data tools and training the staff.
Besides the cloud computing and big data analytics, Citilink has also implemented the Internet of Things (IoT) by using GSM-based chips that are connected with the app to monitor the airplane’s location everywhere.
Citilink’s data culture journey has helped the airline company to match with modern technology and aligning the management team so that they can plan a project of unified vision. With a predicted 270 million passengers in Indonesia by 2034, we wonder what Citilink will do in the future to make greater by using data.