WestJet Cargo and Wiremind have embarked on an innovative initiative to enhance the airline’s capacity forecasting process. By leveraging Wiremind’s expertise in data science and machine learning, the partnership aims to improve accuracy in predicting cargo capacity for sale.
The initiative between WestJet Cargo and Wiremind centers around a Proof of Concept (PoC) to explore how Wiremind can support WestJet Cargo’s capacity forecasting process. By examining data and testing it in Wiremind’s existing capacity forecasting solution, the partnership aims to assess the performance and accuracy of predicting cargo capacity for sale.
“The more accurate the forecast or process is, the better the business impact in terms of maximizing capacity available for sale or reducing the number of unfavourable outcomes,” Nathanel de Tarade, CEO of Wiremind Cargo, said.
The decision to explore capacity forecasting improvements was prompted by the SKYPALLET contract renewal with Wiremind. Recognising capacity forecasting as a critical pain point for many airlines, Wiremind was already developing its capacity forecasting solution as part of its CARGOSTACK Optimiser portfolio.
“We were thrilled to be able to implement this with our existing customer WestJet Cargo, with whom we have a longstanding relationship and we were keen to learn from them,” de Tarade stated.
The PoC for capacity forecasting discussions with WestJet Cargo began in April 2023, with initial discovery calls to understand their current revenue management processes. The focus quickly shifted to addressing the specific pain point of capacity forecasting. The outcome of the PoC is expected to be determined in the coming months, with implementation likely toward the end of 2023.
Wiremind’s optimisation solution, CARGOSTACK Optimiser, utilises Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance capacity forecasting. Powered by tailored and proprietary machine learning models, the solution predicts patterns of behaviour in the underlying data sets. For capacity forecasting, machine learning models are used to predict baggage and payload based on historical data, expected passenger numbers, and other influencing factors such as fuel and weather.
“Intelligent digital support is invaluable for WestJet Cargo as it considers variables like weight, volumes, and pieces during pre-flight preparations, enabling accurate assessment of cargo capacity,” Kirsten de Bruijn, WestJet Cargo’s Executive Vice President, said.
Wiremind’s capacity forecasting solution considers various factors when estimating the remaining cargo capacity for sale. It leverages historical flight data, baggage numbers, fuel consumption, and forward-looking passenger forecasts. By reviewing data at granular levels such as booking class or specific aircraft registration, the solution provides precise and accurate forecasts for cargo capacity.
“By leveraging the advancements in machine learning and AI, WestJet Cargo can optimise cargo offerings and enhance operational efficiency. The evolving digital landscape presents transformative opportunities for the air cargo industry, allowing WestJet Cargo to thrive in this dynamic environment,” she continued. “The transformative impacts we anticipate are just the beginning as these technologies continue to advance and reshape our industry.”
Wiremind’s capacity estimates can be provided in terms of payload and volume, depending on the flight profile or aircraft type. For payload-constrained routes, payload recommendations are particularly important, while volume recommendations are provided for wide-body and narrow-body flights, considering loose-loaded cargo and baggage.
Wiremind’s capacity forecasting solution aims to address the unpredictability faced by cargo teams at passenger-heavy airlines. The complexities of cargo capacity determination, often only known shortly before departure, pose significant challenges.
“This is particularly the case for cargo teams of passenger airlines, where baggage in particular can consume considerable portions of the belly hold of an aircraft,” de Tarade highlighted.
The solution improves predictability by accounting for various capacity-consuming items, such as passenger baggage, weight, and fuel, resulting in better cargo space utilisation and operational efficiency.
“We have been especially excited to see the more recent developments WestJet Cargo has undertaken such as the addition of new freighters, which shows their commitment to cargo, and the expansion of their cargo team, with whom we have had some very insightful conversations,” de Tarade said. “This means that we are very positive about what the future holds for our partnership with WestJet Cargo.”