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10

Apr

The Demise of the Keyboard – Natural Language Technology Takeover

The holidays bring that familiar mixture of anticipation and dread that comes with traveling at the busiest time of the year. And this year passengers have even more reason to feel trepidation as they head out to the airport, even if they’re not flying with United.

Hundreds of American Airlines passengers recently discovered that a computer glitch had jeopardized their holiday plans. In September, Ryanair also experienced a similar failure that led to a much larger scheduling meltdown, affecting over 700,000 passengers and causing no fewer than 20,000 flight cancellations. Ryanair has since gone on to hire more than 200 pilots, capitalizing in part on the collapse of some of its competitors – such as Monarch Airlines – but critics point to the fact that more staff won’t solve the flaws that led to the fiasco in the first place. So why don’t the airlines simply implement new solutions to optimize their operations? Tom LaJoie, the president of airline crew and flight schedule management firm eTT Aviation, says that the aviation industry is notoriously conservative and generally loathe to make changes to its mission-critical structures. “Their operational systems have many tentacles into other systems, and those interfaces must be updated with a new system,” he explains. “Some airlines get caught in a situation of waiting too long to upgrade their systems due to costs and complexities of the implementation phase.” Watching all those scenes of miserable passengers stranded at airports, and given the industry’s resistance to change, you’d be forgiven for thinking that airlines are in crisis. And yet, profits are actually expected to hit record levels in 2018, and global passenger numbers are up by 6 percent on average.

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