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Opinion
David Fickling

Airlines Are Going to Need Big Data to Recover From Covid

Carriers are flying blind on what’s driving passenger behavior and that will hinder the fast revenue growth needed to survive the pandemic. 

Covid has changed the way we travel.

Covid has changed the way we travel.

Photographer: Christopher Occhicone/Bloomberg

For those of us who aren’t professional traders, the closest we ever get to a real-time commodities market is an airline booking site.

Watching prices flicker out of existence before we can make a transaction is an infuriating experience that surely contributes to the discontent that many feel when dealing with air travel. Still, it has proven the best way to get a perishable asset — generic air tickets for specific departures — to the people who want them, at a price that’s most optimal for both airline and passenger.