Comair collects thousands of valuable data points every day across its operations, on everything from pricing and ticket purchasing to fuel consumption and flight punctuality. Before Tableau, the company relied on Excel spreadsheets to collate and analyze it all. However, with data stored in hundreds of separate sources across the company and no way to bring it all together, key insights either went undiscovered or took so much time to find that they were no longer useful.
Liezl Brouckaert, Business Intelligence Manager at Comair, knew that infrastructure lay at the heart of the problem and to improve the organization’s data, a new approach was required.
“The entire company was in Excel hell,” explains Liezl. “The high number of data silos, combined with a lack of centralized intelligence platform was making it very difficult for the business intelligence (BI) team to deliver the kind of insights the wider business needed, on a timescale that worked.”
Now, everything is being connected through Tableau. Diverse data sets can be combined, visualized and interrogated directly within the platform, making it much easier to identify key trends and insights.
As soon as Tableau was implemented, Liezl and her team were able to start pinpointing areas where significant cost savings could be made, such as plane fuel consumption.
“When we started analyzing fuel consumption data across all our flights and destination airports in Tableau, we identified that a 27.5kg fuel saving could be made every time an aircraft’s Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) wasn’t started after landing. Based on local fuel prices, that works out to around $14 saving per flight. Across all flights, that becomes $1,610 per day and over a full year, the savings could be more than $587,000.”
Fuel is Comair’s biggest expense, accounting for 23% of total costs, so savings on this scale can have a significant impact on its bottom line.
“In the airline industry, small savings can quickly add up,” says Liezl. “Before Tableau we were aware that savings could be made throughout our operations, but they were never visibly available, so could not be easily consumed or acted upon.”
Comair has also achieved a number of other data milestones using Tableau. These include the creation of a single dashboard view of data for both Kulula and British Airways brands for the first time, as well as making on-time flight performance available every 15 minutes, on both desktop and mobile devices.
“Fast access to key business intelligence can greatly improve decision making at every level of the company,” says Liezl. “Better information leads to better decisions, which ultimately leads to a better quality of service for our customers.”