International Airlines Group (IAG) is to invest in Volantio, following the US start-up's successful participation in IAG's global accelerator programme Hangar 51.
From more than 350 applications in 46 countries, IAG selected seven companies to participate in its 10-week accelerator programme following a competitive pitch day. Based in Madrid and Barcelona, the start-ups worked closely with industry experts and mentors at IAG, Iberia, Iberia Express and Vueling to develop and test their innovative products.
Of those seven companies, Volantio has been selected to continue working with the Group and further develop its data-driven platform to benefit customers. It will also receive funding from IAG's multimillion pound investment fund for digital transformation.
Volantio has developed a platform called Yana. It enables airlines to proactively identify flexible passengers on high demand flights and offer them alternative seats on lower demand flights with added incentives. Passengers are notified days in advance of their departure to provide enough time to change plans accordingly. Central to Yana are machine learning algorithms that combine millions of anonymised data points to identify passengers with the highest probability of acceptance. Passengers are subsequently sent personalised offers which can include benefits such as upgrades, travel vouchers and frequent flyer points.
During Hangar 51, Volantio ran tests with Iberia to analyse passengers' behaviour trends and launched Yana in the European market in just 27 business days. This was the fastest deployment they have ever done globally with any airline. IAG is working with Volantio to provide more opportunities for its customers who can benefit from having flexible travel plans. The web based platform will also enable the Group's airlines to increase asset utilisation and unit revenues.
Glenn Morgan, IAG's head of digital business transformation, said: "Hangar 51 is a fascinating and mutually valuable opportunity for us to work with start-ups on real business challenges. Volantio has shown us the endless possibilities of how we can transform passengers' journey and the future of travel. We're excited to be investing in such an innovative start-up which has the potential to mutually benefit both airlines and passengers."
Details of the next Hangar 51 accelerator programme will be announced in due course.