​Air New Zealand drives digital transformation through analytics

Airline reports record result, increases capital spending on to technology by 50 percent over three years.

Air New Zealand is on a digital mission: To "create a leading digital organisation in Australasia and to be one of the best digital airlines globally."

Reporting a record annual result for 2015, today the airline, which is already noted for its adoption of and innovation with digital technologies, said it had set itself the objective to "unleash digital transformation" for customers, sales channels and operations.

In that cause, Air New Zealand is replacing the CIO role with a that of a chief digital officer reporting to the chief executive.

The airline said it has boosted capital investment in technology by 50 percent over the last three years, including an investment in data analytics through a joint venture with Canadian loyalty analytics company Aimia.

In April, Aimia and Air New Zealand acquired New Zealand analytics business 11Ants Analytics Group for an undisclosed sum as a 50:50 joint venture.

11Ants is a spin-off of machine learning research conducted at Waikato University that aims to provide actionable insights from raw transactional data. The company's main platform is called 11Ants RAP, a cloud-based customer science platform.

At the time, 11Ants Analytics' investor and chief executive Tom Fuyala said the deal would see the 11Ants business, which already had Fortune 1000 clients, expand into the 20 countries Aimia operates in.

Air New Zealand has also set itself the goal of increasing membership of its loyalty programme by 17 percent, to 1.9 million.

Chief executive Christopher Luxon said the airline had spent 18 months focusing on digital transformation and along with the creation of the new CDO role had redesigned the company's digital portfolio.

"Now more than ever we are focused on the use of innovation and technology to remove customer pain points and make the journey seamless," he said.

"We are continuously looking to technology to interact with our customers, to leverage customer data for their benefit and to provide them with the best travel experience."

Air New Zealand's CIO, Julia Raue said the new chief digital officer will be charged with setting digital strategy, removing those pain points, and exploiting data and analytics platforms to deliver personalised customer experiences.

Air New Zealand's operating revenue increased by NZ$273 million (5.9 percent) to NZ$4.9 billion for the year ended 30 June. Statutory net profit before tax was NZ$474 million, up 32.4 percent, while net profit after tax was NZ$327 million, up 24.3 percent.

Full year ordinary dividends were up 60 percent to 16 cents per share.