Artificial Intelligence: Air Canada employees put to the challenge to develop creative solutions
Feb 2020

Air Canada has made it clear that artificial intelligence will be a key part of the airline’s future and has already moved forward with several initiatives that will have long-term benefits.

But the push to innovate and come up with new ways to employ AI is a continual process and earlier this month, our AI Centre of Excellence (COE) team hosted an internal two-day hackathon at Air Canada’s Montreal headquarters to tackle a pair of challenges and develop potential solutions.

“Artificial Intelligence will play a major role in the future success of Air Canada and we are already well on our way with AI labs at Air Canada Cargo and Revenue Management. But we continue to invest and develop new ways in which AI will help Air Canada evolve and grow,” said Catherine Luelo, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. “The true value of AI is when we bring it to life to change the way we work as an airline. Initiatives like this one, demonstrate the incredible potential for AI and make what is often thought of as an abstract concept more relatable.”

Air Canada’s ambition is to become Canada’s AI employer of choice within three years, and within five years, Air Canada plans to leverage AI throughout the organization to ensure competitive advantage within the global airline industry.

With safety a top priority at Air Canada, one of the challenges was related to that topic, with the goal of using AI to better categorize, organize and provide insights around safety events and incidents.

The teams also worked on a challenge from the Air Canada Vacations group to develop a model that would use predictive analytics to better provide AI-powered insights and opportunities for vacation bookings.

The employees were split into teams and worked to solve the problems before presenting their proposed solutions to a panel of judges. The teams were supported by members of the airline’s AI Centre of Excellence (COE) team and other mentors during the event.

Air Canada has a number of major initiatives underway as the company moves forward with re-imagining its loyalty program and transforming core operational processes.AI will allow the airline to fully leverage these investments and accelerate their journey in becoming a global champion.