Data Warehouse Manager Marc Constantineau, Air Canada

Data Warehouse Manager Marc Constantineau, Air Canada

Features

Case Study: Air Canada

Prepare for Takeoff

New platform enables airline to better respond to its passengers’ needs.

Air Canada is a brand with uni­versal recognition like virtually no other in Canada. In 2010, the nation’s largest full-service carrier was named Best Airline North America in the international Skytrax Survey, North America’s Top Airline in an international survey of more than 25,000 readers of Global Traveler magazine as well as Best Airline Website by readers of Business Traveler Magazine.

In the global airline industry, Air Canada is known for having launched a wide range of innovative products based on a business model that simplified its pricing structure and changed rules and fares to be more cus­tomer-friendly. To help realize this renewed customer focus, the company needed a new data platform.

Temporarily Grounded

A legacy data mart was unable to provide senior management with early-morning reports on ticketing and advanced book­ings, essential information needed to take action on flight schedules, routes, capacity planning and more.

The system was simply too slow and unable to grow with Air Canada’s needs. As a result, management reports became available later and later in the day. The data mart had reached its limits.

Enable Corporate Cooperation

Air Canada

 




Air Canada’s data warehouse has been a tremedous asset in supporting a joint venture with United, Continental and Lufthansa airlines. Known as Atlantic++, the agreement allows the carriers to jointly market and sell services on trans-Atlantic flights. The alliance needs to be able to identify the cost share of each airline because passengers might fly Air Canada to one airport and then overseas on another carrier. The data warehouse allows Air Canada to run more granular queries and quickly crunch huge amounts of data. Processing and querying such large data vol­umes would not have been feasible a few years ago.

—B.H.

After reviewing its options, Air Canada chose a Teradata Data Warehouse Appliance that was implemented with the help of Teradata Professional Services.

Gain Altitude

The move cut processing time for one of the company’s largest loads from two hours to 30 minutes. “Teradata’s system offered remarkable stability and the ability to quickly crunch massive amounts of data,” says Data Warehouse Manager Marc Constantineau.

Information quality and speed of delivery are essential. Air Canada now has both, which allows it to manage the control, reporting, use and accounting of tickets, miscellaneous charge orders and other ac­countable documents. Senior management reports are ready daily by 7 a.m., providing the business metrics needed to make fast, early decisions, such as ensuring the right air­craft and right number of seats are available on each route as needed.

The airline has taken a strategic approach with the platform, first using it as a data mart to address performance issues. As the comfort level has grown more data has been added to the warehouse.

EDW on the Horizon

Accordingly, the data environment supports Air Canada’s push to reduce costs. Having proven its performance and stability, the Teradata platform was selected as the corporate enterprise data warehouse (EDW).

The airline has been working to bring more data into the warehouse, develop new applications and migrate existing ones. “With confidence in the system, we could offer our internal customers the ability to host their data in a robust, stable and highly available environment,” says Robert Eardley, Senior Director IT, Transformation Solutions.

Among the newer users is Air Canada’s E-Commerce department, which relies on it for weekly reports on campaigns and subscriptions. As the platform evolves into a true EDW, the company is also incorporating ticket data and operational flight information. Air Canada is leverag­ing the Teradata Travel Industry Logical Data Model (LDM) for this and other projects. “We are using the LDM as much as possible as a framework to work from, which reduces development time and costs,” Constantineau explains.

Sky’s the Limit

The airline is also standardizing on one business intelligence (BI) tool, moving from several types and versions of report­ing tools. This will grow the user base as more departments gain direct access to the EDW.

“Building an EDW doesn’t happen over­night,” says Eardley. “We have been prudent in developing the system so that we now have a powerful enterprise platform in place to continue to leverage as Air Canada looks for more ways to reduce costs and capitalize on new opportunities.”


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