In aviation, cybersecurity is not merely a technical aspect but a foundational component of maintaining safety and trust: Anand Srinivasan, Co-founder & CIO, Akasa Air

In a recent interaction with Express Computer, Anand Srinivasan, Co-founder and CIO, Akasa Air, discusses the airline’s recent digital and technology initiatives. Srinivasan shared insights into how Akasa Air leverages cutting-edge technologies to enhance operational efficiency and customer experience. As a cloud-native and digital-native brand, Akasa Air employs advanced solutions such as AI, ML, IoT, and real-time data analytics across its operations. Srinivasan highlights the company’s focus on safety, inclusivity, and customer convenience, along with their commitment to robust data security. Looking ahead, he emphasises the continuous investment in technology to maintain competitive advantage and deliver a seamless flying experience.

Can you share some of the recent important digital or technology initiatives that your company has undertaken and their impact?

At Akasa Air, we believe in leveraging technology to ensure efficient operations and a seamless flying experience for our customers. We are a cloud-native and digital-native brand and continue to invest heavily in proven technology solutions across all of our business functions. 

Operations at Akasa are powered by state-of-the-art solutions that enable our Flight Dispatchers to operate and control our flights optimally and is one of the factors that enable Akasa to consistently deliver industry leading on-time performance and schedule reliability. Our controllers are notified in real-time of any disruptions to operations across our network, and have technology powered systems and algorithms that help them identify options to recover from these disruptions with minimal impact on the schedule. 

A culture of safety is essential for any successful airline and at Akasa, we take safety very seriously. Our flight crew are provided with detailed video recreations of flights they have operated to better understand their performance and seek opportunities to improve their flying. Additionally, all potential safety related incidents are reported, tracked, and rectified with real time updates to all necessary stakeholders. 

At Akasa Air, our approach to web accessibility works to inclusively enable access to our website by all our users, regardless of their level of ability, condition, or circumstances. We have taken care to eliminate barriers that can block a user’s access to our website and have actively worked to create a fully inclusive website for everyone, including people with visual, cognitive, physical, and auditory disabilities. These include integrating ADA/AAA compliant font, selectable text feature, accurate and descriptive alternative text (ALT text) and ALT tags for all images on our website, as well as a dedicated high-contrast feature. 

We recognise that the airport experience can be chaotic and intimidating for some passengers. Flights do get delayed due to various circumstances, boarding gates are shifted, sometimes at the last minute. While all efforts are made to maintain reliability and consistency, when such changes do occur, Akasa Air tries to ease the passenger discomfort by providing our passengers with real-time updates on their mobile and notify them of any delays, change of boarding gate as well as the baggage belt where their baggage will be delivered. This allows the passengers to not be constantly paying attention to airport displays or announcements, especially in larger and “silent” airports. 

Data from engine sensors are analysed in near real-time to indicate potential engine maintenance requirements early. This allows us to ensure the highest level of reliability and safety when it comes to our operating aircraft. 

How is Akasa Air leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to optimise its operations, such as scheduling, maintenance, and resource allocation? 

The adoption of new-age technologies such as AI, ML, big data, analytics, biometrics, etc., is rapidly increasing in all industries including aviation. Worldwide, Aviation is a fast adopter of technology and analytics to streamline operations and user experience. Digitisation, in its current trend, is helping airlines accelerate the benefits of technology and analytics. 

At Akasa Air, we have invested into technology from the start across all aspects of our business, and we continue to invest into appropriate technologies such as optimisation, AI to help us gain insights into our customer behaviour and operational parameters. We leverage these insights to make informed and data-backed decisions to serve our customers better. We have partnered with some of the leading technology providers to further strengthen the spine of our digital infrastructure. 

All operational and commercial decisions are backed by technologies that leverage data, mathematical models and, where appropriate, AI and IoT. These include the pricing of our flights, choice of routes, deployment of aircraft, rostering of operating and ground crew, scheduling engine maintenance, etc. In fact, there is hardly any aspect of our business that is not backed by data and technology. 

What are the potential benefits and challenges of using GenAI in the aviation industry? 

GenAI is an emerging technology that has shown immense potential across a wide range of business use cases. While some use cases are generic and are not aviation specific, a significant amount of research and testing is necessary before a GenAI deployment in an aviation specific scenario. Given the high level of precision and stringent operating parameters that are necessary for safe and reliable operations, GenAI is not ready for large scale deployment in aviation specific use cases. Generic business use cases like content creation, conversational agents, etc., continue to be strong contenders for GenAI deployment.

Cybersecurity is paramount. How is Akasa Air prioritising data security for both passengers and the company? 

We believe that cybersecurity is not merely a technical aspect but a foundational component of maintaining safety and trust in aviation. At Akasa we aim to safeguard sensitive information from unauthorised access, ensuring that travellers’ preferences and personal details remain confidential. With extensive protocols in place, we continuously strive to prevent incidents and take additional measures to ensure that the security of all our systems is even further enhanced. We will continue to maintain our robust security protocols, engaging wherever applicable, with partners, researchers, and security experts from whom we can benefit to strengthen our systems. Additionally, we have also deployed AI based cyber threat prevention capabilities that leverage the power of AI to identify and thwart cyber threats in real-time. 

In the next six months to one year, what are some of the new digital or technology initiatives planned? 

At Akasa Air, we have deployed technological solutions across the entire value chain to ensure a unified experience for customers across channels. Going forward, we will continue to utilise advanced technologies that will provide improved efficiency and passenger experience.

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