Chaitanya Pandit, Head of Commercial Systems, AirAsia India

Enterprises in the transportation sector are increasingly leveraging ICT solutions to improve their overall efficiency and deliver world-class services. The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic further accelerated digital adoption among enterprises in the transportation industry. Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), big data and cloud are making inroads into the sector as organisations are discovering newer use cases around these new-age solutions. Chaitanya Pandit, Head of Commercial Systems, AirAsia India, talks about the role of ICT in transforming the sector, the key technology solutions deployed by his company, deployment challenges and the way forward…

How has ICT transformed the transportation and mobility sector?

Tia, our state-of-the-art innovation chatbot, caters to several customer queries including modifications, bookings and processing of refunds to customer accoun­ts in no time. Tia successfully processed 200,000 customer queries last month. The simple baggage drop solutions at some of our airports like Mumbai and Bengaluru en­sure a contactless experience for our gu­e­sts. The web check-in feature takes self-declaration for Covid-19 measures and contributes to about 90 per cent of our check-ins, thus reducing contact at airports. Our focus has been on automating several manual tasks to improve operational efficiency.

What are some of the use cases of technologies such as cloud, big data, AI and IoT in the transport sector?

We are working on moving our integral commercial systems to the cloud, which we believe will result in faster responses and will offer scalability to our promotional activities during the holiday season.

What are the key technology solutions deployed by your company? How have they helped improve business and operations?

We use a next-generation unique application programming interface (API) for distribution and we are the only airline in our region to deploy this for our guests that generate 90 per cent of our total revenue. The system uptime has improved to 100 per cent in the last 10 months.

What are some of the challenges faced while deploying new-age technologies?

  • Work-from-home was a new concept for all of us as the pandemic started gaining momentum. While Allstars (as AirAsia India employees are fondly called) working at the airport did not have a choice, hundreds of our Allstars working from our corporate office had to create a mini-home-cum-office with access to the required applications. A secure con­n­ection to applications from remote pl­a­c­­es was provided, which enabled them to function smoothly.
  • Our partners have invested in development while deploying the newest APIs in our region for our airline. They were fully convinced that this change is for the better and have been very cooperative in its adoption.
  • We believe that the different Covid vaccine brands available in various countries and their acceptance by one another might pose a challenge. There will be a need for systems to identify and be cognisant of the vaccine brands and then allow or disallow passengers to board an international flight. This will be governed by the acceptance of that brand in the destination country.