The airline industry was one of the hardest hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, faced with unprecedented challenges. Estimates say the sector lost $201 billion in revenue. Additionally, around 2.3 million jobs were lost as lockdowns halted travel for people around the world.
Fast forward to 2023, restrictions have been lifted and demand for air travel has soared. However, after years of such intense disruption, airlines must navigate pre-pandemic demand with fewer resources.
To help overcome bottlenecks, find stability in a post-pandemic travel space, and improve operational efficiency in general, airlines are turning to artificial intelligence (AI). The technology has already been implemented in the industry for airplane maintenance, to measure fuel consumption, and to predict weather conditions. Now, it is helping to bridge the staffing gaps caused by the pandemic.
Here’s how AI is ensuring a smooth takeoff for HR and help solve challenges in the airline industry.
1. Finding new (and the right) talent
Following mass staffing cuts, airlines like American, Delta, United, and Southwest have announced hiring sprees to meet the increasing demand for air travel.
In the search to bring on board more people, AI not only empowers airlines to find suitable candidates quickly, but it can also showcase airlines’ modern, savvy recruitment strategies.
AI is a powerful tool to encourage people to apply for an aviation role in the first place. Intelligent chatbots can be included on airline websites and career platforms, and can even interact with job-seekers.
For instance, chatbots can answer candidate questions, offer information about vacancies, and conduct initial interviews. The result is that candidates get a taste of what the position involves and how the company communicates. It also frees up time for recruiters to focus on more complex hiring tasks.
Elsewhere, AI automates resume screening. Here, smart algorithms analyze large volumes of applications and use natural language processing to match people and job roles accurately. Compared to manual selection, AI can detect and contact the people with the most appropriate experience for a position in a significantly shorter amount of time.
AI can also be applied during the interview phase to assess facial expressions, tone of voice, and other non-verbal communication. Demonstrating a person’s skills and compatibility with a job. It can also help assess a candidate’s English language-speaking skills, shortening interview times and expediting the recruitment process to a great extent.
For more technical positions, AI can review and grade tests. Removing the possibility of human error and making more objective conclusions about a person’s performance.
2. Retaining staff for the long term
Naturally, following large-scale layoffs in the pandemic, airline workers today could be worried that their jobs aren’t secure. Airlines therefore have a responsibility to reassure staff and invest in tactics that boost staff retention – after all, people who feel safe in their roles are more likely to be productive.
AI can aid in highlighting patterns and factors that contribute to employee retention. It can equally look at motivation levels, the quality of work produced, and evaluate the risk of employees leaving the company – all based on data like employee feedback and career progression.
With this information, airlines can make informed decisions about improving retention efforts, for example, by implementing development pathways and opportunities to celebrate employees.
AI can streamline onboarding and help provide an optimal experience for new employees. This is because they are more likely to leave a position if they get a bad impression of it. AI can create personalized introductory programs that let new hires quickly adapt to their environment and responsibilities. It can also build interactive modules and simulations that get trainees up to speed faster. Hence, making them feel more confident in their role.
3. Evolving training and development
Upskilling was one of the biggest takeaways from the pandemic. In a crisis where millions of jobs were suddenly in jeopardy, workers now want to diversify their capabilities to be more attractive to a broader set of roles.
This is particularly true in aviation. Employees are interested in expanding their knowledge of safety, customer service, IT, and English.
AI also plays a substantial part in upskilling via adaptive learning platforms. These platforms can deliver tailored courses on topics people are most interested in, allowing employers to monitor an individual’s progress. Virtual and augmented reality can even be integrated with the platforms to establish more immersive training. Meanwhile, AI algorithms can generate feedback in real-time and offer guidance for people to upskill faster and more deeply.
AI also drives intelligent tutoring systems, which act as virtual instructors and can help aviation staff comprehend complex concepts and procedures. The systems use algorithms and natural language processing to understand people’s questions, detect their learning preferences, and curate exercises and explanations that best facilitate their development.
In particular, learning English has become a priority for people who want to work in the aviation industry – especially as claims say that non-English speakers don’t have the same access to top jobs and subsequently higher salaries.
AI-powered solutions like ELSA for Business help build fluency and confidence in English quickly and accurately in as little as three months. The speech-recognition technology gives aviation staff digestible, practical tasks to seamlessly include English in their roles and beyond.
Learners simply respond to prompts by speaking into an app. Then, they receive detailed advice about pronunciation, intonation, grammar, and more.
In fact, 90% of ELSA learners express higher confidence in speaking English. Even after using the app for only 10 minutes per day.
Elevating the aviation industry with AI
AI has reached new heights in its ability to support HR challenges in the airline industry as it bounces back from the impact of Covid-19. The technology is already accelerating recruitment, retention, and development. Undoubtedly bringing other benefits that protect the sector from future turbulence.
Ready to take your aviation HR to the skies?