Company Profile: Planitas prepares for post-pandemic demand for data insights

Company Profile: Planitas prepares for post-pandemic demand for data insights

The Dublin-based aviation analytics specialist, says carriers are emerging from COVID with a better appreciation of the value of accessible and accurate data insights

Simon Grennan, chief executive of the Dublin-based aviation analytics specialist Planitas, says carriers will emerge from COVID with a better appreciation of the value of accessible and accurate data insights 

For airlines that have weathered the COVID-19 storm the focus has shifted from survival to a more agile future as the international travel market continues to be beset with uncertainty.

Central to this post-pandemic prerequisite is data and making sure carriers have the processes and people to understand and organise the insights that can be derived from it.

This is where Dublin-based aviation data specialist Planitas believes it is positioned to further establish itself as a partner of choice as airlines better appreciate the power of data.

The firm has 20 years-worth of experience specialising specifically in airline data and revenue analytics developing software and in-house human expertise among its team of 20.

Planitas was founded by its current chairman Luke Mooney, a former chairman of CityJet, who saw first hand the challenges associated with airline data.

Simon Grennan, the firm’s chief executive, said: “Airlines produce a lot of it, naturally, due to their business model and the challenge is how accessible is it and how accurate is their reporting.

“That has not changed. We work with airlines on the basis that their data is in many different forms and comes from many different channels, whether GDS, booking partnerships, their own revenue teams or OTAs.

“That’s hard to organise so we help with that and improve the quality of it which in turn makes them become more agile, and quicker and make better decisions”.

As an airline specialist Planitas is fishing for clients at the top of the travel pyramid in terms of number of organisations, although there are an estimated 5,000 airlines globally. Planitas current works with just 10 of those including Jet Blue, Hawaiian Air, Frontier Airlines and Air Malta.

But with new trends and customer behaviours emerging post-COVID, some of which will be fleeting while others here for the long-term, all airlines will need to be on top of their data insights more than ever before, said Grennan.

“From the airlines’ perspective they have gone through very challenging times and hopefully we are through the worst of it. But they have such a need for that real-time data which we can provide.

“The airlines have had to rebuild teams because there has been a reduction in resources they have to work with, so having us there has been helpful for them. We have the knowledge that can overlap what they have retained.

“We are very positive about the industry and the future. A lot of markets that we work in our performing very well, particularly if they have big domestic markets.

“International markets have their own challenges with changing regulations and uncertainty is a massive issue. But once that uncertainty lifts demand is there and it will come back, maybe it will take a little more time for some, but I’m hugely positive.

Grennan adds: “We see some really great people in the industry and some great airlines with entrepreneurial ideas coming through, but they are having to do more with less and to do it quicker.

“There are new patterns of behaviour appearing all the time, new types of customer coming through, new trends in bookings like dates of departure or times of booking. It’s all up in the air.

“And there have been huge moves in terms of airlines pulling out of markets, or coming into markets and that competition creates more points of difference again. The predictability is definitely not there and that in itself creates a need to have the right information.

“For us the appreciation of data is greater than it ever was and there is an increase both in volume and multiplicity of where its comes from, so we make sure we are developing alongside our customers.

“We can support them and from our perspective this is our expertise. We cannot fly the planes, we cannot crew them, but this is what we can do.”

Grennan says Planitas rarely loses customers it takes on and it is poised to scale both in terms of manpower and technically with its cloud-based Software-as-a-Service model as it expects to be working with more partners this year than ever before.

The firm has a roadmap of tech developments it will roll out this year to make sure it keeps pace with how airlines want to consume and make sense of their data.

“We are very much customer-driven in our product development. When a customer comes to use to say we would like this we try to implement that rapidly,” says Grennan.

“Eighty percent of what we do is core but enhancements are applicable to all our customer, and every airline is different in how it operates and what its needs are.”

“What we want to do is grow, but grow in a manageable way. What we want is for everyone in the sector to be doing well. When businesses are not doing well it’s very difficult to reinvest in your own business.”

Grennan added that while airline KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), data strategies and models may vary, the key is that their data is accurate and can be trusted.

“This is a really challenging time for people in travel and hospitality,” he says. “They have had to work through this while large swathes of the economy have been performing very, very well.

“The good thing about that is there is money to spend, and people have missed travelling and missed getting that bit of heat on their back.”