Airline Industry

The coronavirus pandemic upended the airline industry. BCG’s airline consulting experts help companies take a data-driven and action-oriented approach to their business so they come back stronger than before.

Coping with the demand shock in the wake of COVID-19 has posed one of the greatest challenges in the airline industry’s history. Our airline clients are asking: how do we ensure survival in the face of a global pandemic? And how can we prepare to ramp up and create value in the new reality? The eventual winners will make bold moves now—with only a small window of opportunity to act.

For many airlines, this will require a clean-sheet redesign of strategy, networks, and operations. Companies have an opportunity to rethink their networks, schedules, staffing, organizational design, digital setup, revenue management, and much more. Whether applied company-wide or to specific divisions, this approach can unlock meaningful value and deliver transformative change.

How We Help Airline Industry Clients

We serve seven of the ten largest network carriers and six of the top 20 low-cost carriers, in addition to airports, OEMs, cargo carriers, and other key players in the aviation ecosystem. Our airline consulting teams combine expertise in all aspects of the airline industry, including strategy, network planning, airline operations, pricing and revenue management, sales and distribution, personalization and airline loyalty, MRO, people and organization, digital and travel technologies, and sustainability. By working in cross-functional teams, we view each airline holistically to ensure that every move delivers cascading benefits for the business overall.

Our work has achieved groundbreaking impact. One airline client’s transformation has been described as “the largest corporate turnaround in the country’s history.” Another client became the most punctual airline in the world. And another achieved a three-point improvement in on-time departures.

BCG’s Airline Industry Tools, Centers, and Solutions

Our work is always 100% customized to a client’s unique needs, and BCG’s airline consulting teams have a strong suite of proprietary tools to support our analysis and strategic approach.

  • BCG created advanced revenue management solutions to overcome to challenges posed by Covid-19. The first, Machine Learing2 demand forecast, with more than 90% forecast accuracy, significantly improves pricing effectiveness and revenues. The second, an AI-driven bionic elasticity model, builds reliable demand curves that inform customers’ willingness to pay and optimal positioning for every pricing decision.
  • BCG’s zero-based scaling tool uses proprietary BCG data and public sources to forecast market demand, predict airline industry trends, calculate profitability per route, and optimize for overall network profitability. The tool enables airlines to address network design at a time when historical models are unreliable for making the right big decisions on short notice.
  • BCG and KLM, as part of BCG’s digital operations and transformation center, developed a state-of-the-art solution using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced optimization to support global leaders in airline operations. This cooperation marks the first time a leading aviation company has joined forces with a top-tier consultancy to bring to market a new service.
  • BCG cofounded Journera, in partnership with Jeff Katz, the founding CEO of Orbitz Worldwide. This industry-wide platform provides secure, real-time data exchange to help companies create more-seamless travel journeys.
  • BCG’s pricing and revenue management competence center offers a suite of solutions to drive strategy, advance methodology, sharpen tools, and build a stronger, more capable organization.
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