Malaysia Airlines Uses Qubole to Enhance Their Customer Experience and Drive Profitability

Exploring the Business Problem

As with most airlines in the past few years, Malaysia Airlines faced increasing pressure to improve profitability and cut operational costs to compete with low-cost carriers in the region, all while dealing with the challenges of a rapidly changing and diverse market.

With their existing infrastructure, the company realized that many departments were hampered by a lack of data availability — IT was experiencing access, time, and resource bottlenecks that prevented the distribution of vast amounts of data. On average, the team required 48 hours to access data. Furthermore, Malaysia Airlines had historically captured transactional data within silos, creating yet another barrier to the data expediency and flexibility that end users demanded.

<about company="Malaysia Airlines Berhad" logo="" link="" description="(MAB), branded as Malaysia Airlines, is the national carrier of Malaysia. Founded in 1947 as Malayan Airways, the company currently serves more than 60 destinations across Southeast Asia, North and South Asia, the Middle East, Australasia, and Europe.">

Aspiring to a Data-Driven Future

Company leaders sought to transform Malaysia Airlines into a fully data-driven organization able to more effectively support enterprise-wide goals. The company’s ability to deliver on two key objectives to return to profitability by 2019 and to enhance the traveler experience through personalization hung on the success of their digital transformation. In conjunction with shifting to a new, cloud-based infrastructure, executives turned to Qubole to help close the data accessibility gap.

<quote content="Qubole is able to help us to process the data within a 15-minute time frame rather than multiple days so that we can distribute the information to end users less than 20 minutes after the data has been received." author="Ng Kim Hoe, IT Strategy and Architecture, Malaysia Airlines">


Streamlining Data Processing in the Cloud

Malaysia Airlines undertook an internal restructuring project for the first stage of their data-driven initiative. To improve flexibility and scalability, IT migrated all workloads to Microsoft Azure and revamped core IT systems including their reservations system, website, and mobile application. By incorporating Qubole as a key layer of this new infrastructure, the company increased its data processing and analytics capabilities and reduced data ingestion time by more than 90 percent. Customer-facing personnel gained complete visibility of passenger reservations information in less than 20 minutes, down from approximately six hours. The business impact has been significant, as Malaysia Airlines now has a near-real-time dynamic pricing process.


<quote content="Before we partnered with Qubole, we had to wait a minimum of 48 hours to access our data, and that was not sustainable in our pursuit of profitability." author="Ng Kim Hoe, IT Strategy and Architecture, Malaysia Airlines">


Addressing Data Inaccessibility

Under their previous technology stack, teams at Malaysia Airlines had to wait days to access data, and departments frequently waited even longer for access and insights to be delivered. The company’s new cloud-based infrastructure offers a much faster data turnaround based on Qubole, which provides a scalable platform with adaptive processing power to quickly prepare data for analytics, machine learning, or artificial intelligence uses. Now the entire organization can access data via their tool of choice, available within two hours a drastic improvement from the previous duration of two days.

Increasing cross-departmental availability of data led to the realization of new revenue-driving projects and personalization features such as:

  • Delivering personalized packages on the basis of passengers’ past purchase patterns and routes traveled
  • Improving financial visibility into cost, price, and revenue levers
  • Optimizing schedule development and fleet assignment
  • Sending timely, personalized offers to increase redemption
  • Offering customized pricing on ancillaries such as upgrades, legroom, and meals


Increasing Cost Efficiency 

In support of their cost-savings initiative, Malaysia Airlines looked for more affordable solutions to control analytics projects and cloud maintenance costs. Qubole's timely delivery of analytics led to millions in savings compared to the existing system. In addition, the switch to Azure and Qubole allowed IT to redistribute workloads so that a single administrator manages the big data project. The IT team was able to enact all of these changes with zero investment in retraining, resolving executive concerns about spiraling costs. 


Building a Culture of Big Data

Looking to the future, the company plans to continue leveraging big data to enhance operations and profitability. Two top-of-mind areas of focus are building out their cloud environment and driving operational efficiencies, both of which will help Malaysia Airlines to optimize data processing and IT operations costs. As the company moves forward in its digital transformation journey, Qubole supports the data team in managing and scaling new and more complex workloads in a cost-effective and resource-friendly way.


The Business Value of Qubole for Malaysia Airlines

Powerful Analytics 

  • Deliver personalized customer experience while lowering costs

Timely data availability for analytics 

  • Business users can access data within 2 hours instead of 2 days
  • Decreased data ingestion time by more than 90% 
  • Data now made available within 20 minutes of receipt 

Reduced infrastructure costs  

  • Saved thousands on analytics spend by leveraging Qubole 
  • Reduced big data project oversight to a single administrator 

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