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Can Automated Imaging and Artificial Intelligence Help your Counting Processes?

Selling of alcohol and other items onboard has proven to be a good and steady source of income for airline companies.

In a report by onboard technology firm GuestLogix, sales of liquor, beer and wine accounted for 57 percent of in-flight purchases during their testing period. The report tracked 8 million transactions across five airlines based in the United States.

Liquor was far and away the top choice among flyers, getting 34% of the sales while wine accounted for 13% and beer, 10%. Curiously, non-alcoholic beverages just took in one percent of sales during the survey period.

Overall, alcohol sales reached more than $43 million during the four-month period.

The results of this report show how much earning potential there is in the sales of wine and spirits.

In the age of low cost carriers, airline companies have become more and more dependent on airline ancillary revenue. Aside from onboard retailing, this includes revenue from re-booking fees and baggage fees.

Baggage fees remain the biggest source of ancillary revenue for airline companies. But it has plateaud in recent years. Meanwhile, onboard retailing has been growing consistently every year.

Profits from onboard retailing may be on the rise yet many airline companies could be losing millions of dollars from this ancillary revenue source due to poor inventory controls.

What can airlines do to manage onboard inventory more effectively?

An extremely time consuming method would be to have flight attendants physically count on board inventory products before and after each flight. A two count approach accomplishes the following:

  • Hold the caterer accountable because you know what was loaded on the flight

  • Comparing the pre and post flight count will give an accurate view of onboard consumption

  • After time, by flight trends can be formulated to assist with inventory forecasting

An easier solution could be the implementation of imaging technology and data analytics.

Do you think your airline count benefit from an imaging counting system?

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