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Using SAS® software, timely departures soar at Scandinavian Airlines


Europe’s best on-time airline saves millions by reducing delay

CARY, NC - SAS Scandinavian Airlines has the best on-time performance in Europe, according to the Association of European Airlines. In recent years, the airline has dramatically reduced flight delays throughout the Nordic region. Scandinavian Airlines Decision Support uses technology from SAS Institute, the leader in business analytics software and services, to analyze past delays to prevent future problems. The airline can meet customer demand for on-time performance, simultaneously saving millions yearly through improved on-time rates.

In October 2008, 89 percent of the airline’s flights departed within 15 minutes of schedule, the best on-time rate in Europe. Departures delayed less than three minutes doubled to 75.6 percent from 2007 to 2008, helping reduce costs for irregularities and claims by US $2.5 million.

“On-time performance is critical from cost and customer satisfaction perspectives. After safety, it is what passengers value most in an airline,” said David Lagneholm, turnaround manager at Scandinavian Airlines.

”Turnaround” is the period between a flight landing and taking off again. To reduce delays, the airline’s SAS Decision Support unit to develop an analytics system, which it built on the SAS® Business Analytics Framework.

“We started with simple analyses that grew as requirements were added. We already knew how many flights departed on time, but could not explain delays. Now we can see why delays occur and which part of the process isn’t functioning optimally,” said Dan Andersen, Manager, SAS Decision Support.

Among resulting initiatives are new turnaround coordinators for 40 percent of departures, increased organizational focus, earlier boarding and faster feedback.

SAS Decision Support measures everything from in-flight chocolate sales to the environmental impact of carbon dioxide emissions. Analyzing information about cargo, passengers, timing of clearance signals, flight time and more from systems such as check-in and boarding the airline can pinpoint reasons for delays and take corrective action.

“We now perform analyses we only dreamed of before, improving on-time performance by making faster, more precise insights available to more employees,” said Lagneholm.

“Enormous amounts of data went unutilized. Collecting information manually from different databases and compiling it in Excel was costly, and reports were neither quick nor detailed. Today, everything is automated. We receive up-to-date information ready to analyze in a totally different way,” he added.

“We deliver information to airline decision makers and executives, who retrieve it via the SAS BI Portal. Each company and specialist function has a start page; what users see depends on authority levels,” said Andersen.

SAS Decision Support only uses technology from SAS Institute, known worldwide for advanced analytics. The airline has used SAS software for over 20 years, always updating to the latest versions.

“It’s great to see Scandinavian Airlines so involved in analytics. They are leaders in the field. They understand that staying current provides them with exceptional results. SAS is a very important customer for us,” said Liselotte Jansson, Country Manager of SAS Sweden.

Dan Andersen says management support is a must for decision support to succeed. “It takes a lot of work behind the scenes to implement business analytics, especially inputting and consolidating all the data. Once the base is established, it’s easy to build new applications. The information is already there,” he said.

Next for SAS Decision Support is to better analyze what will happen next. “Now that we know what has happened and why, we are interested in the future. In 2009 we will focus on forecasting and simulation.” Andersen concluded.

About SAS
SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions delivered within an integrated framework, SAS helps customers at more than 45,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world The Power to Know®


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