Digital transformation using big data technologies

The global air cargo market is extremely competitive. Lufthansa Cargo has decided in favor of an analytics platform based on big data technologies as part of a major digitalization program. This platform is expected to contribute to more intelligent and proactive business management.

The customer

With a transport volume of around 1.6 million tonnes in cargo and postal consignments as well as 8.4 billion freight tonne-kilometers in 2015, Lufthansa Cargo is one of the world’s leading air cargo transport companies. It currently employs roughly 4,600 staff members worldwide. Lufthansa Cargo’s emphasis is on airport-airport business. Its route network comprises around 300 destinations in over 100 countries and it utilizes both cargo airplanes and the cargo capacities of passenger aircraft owned by Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings, as well as trucks. The majority of its cargo business is handled via Frankfurt Airport. Lufthansa Cargo is a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

The challenge

The air cargo market remains highly competitive. Airlines from the Middle East and Turkey in particular are significantly increasing their freight capacities as part of expansions to their passenger aircraft fleets. Lufthansa Cargo is taking measures to ensure that it is fit to face the challenges of tomorrow, such as the initiation of its digitalization program eCargo.

With eCargo, this cargo airline aims to completely digitalize the exchange of data and information with all of the participants in the transport chain, from booking to delivery. Within the scope of its eAnalytics project, big data methods and technologies are expected to transform business management that has been largely reactive up until now and make it more proactive.

The solution

Lufthansa Industry Solutions has been helping Lufthansa Cargo with the evaluation, set-up and operation of its analytics platform, and the implementation of use cases since the beginning of 2014. A team made up of experts from the fields of business consulting, data science and data architecture is looking into the ideal big data solution for Lufthansa Cargo. Within this scope, Lufthansa Industry Solutions is utilizing the opportunities provided by its Data Insight Lab. Big data solutions recognize new patterns in existing data, make forecasts, visualize the corresponding results and help companies to make decisions that are relevant to business.

The technical basis of this new development is Hadoop as a data platform, Talend for data integration, RapidMiner for statistical analyses and MicroStrategy for the visualization of results. Analytics architecture has been developed, set up and put into operation with the help of department colleagues and IT experts. Participants have identified fields of application and implemented some initial use cases.

The customer benefit

The analytics solution it has developed enables Lufthansa Cargo to harness big data technologies to implement proactive business management (in particular for sales, handling and revenue management) on the basis of the data available.

This new eAnalytics solution helps to identify hidden correlations and patterns within structured and non-structured data sources. It has made it possible to establish forecast models, for example for the prognosis of cross-selling potentials, as well as visualize results and connect existing operational systems. The result is a platform that is flexibly and variably customized to meet future business requirements.

We have profited significantly from the expertise of our partner Lufthansa Industry Solutions during the development of our new, intelligent and proactive business management with the help of modern big data technologies. The new platform comprises an important component of our eCargo digitalization program.

Fausto Queiroz
Project Manager for eAnalytics at Lufthansa Cargo