MySky: (AI)ding business aviation operations


Operator margins can benefit more and more from the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) software into operations, according to MySky’s Chris Marich.

AI and how it can streamline otherwise menial tasks is making headlines, but machine learning software has been a focus for MySky since it was founded in 2015. Co-founder and global strategy director of the global technology platform, Marich, told Corporate Jet Investor that AI plays a key role in how MySky’s products and services support business aviation users.

“I think right now everyone seems a little scared of AI and what is happening, but we see it more as a friend to our operators, who should use this technology as an assistant and not as a replacement for your workforce,” said Marich.

What we identified is that there are a lot of very time-consuming processes in our industry, which require of man hours. These include invoice verification, invoice allocation, breakdown, quoting charter trips with a very low conversion rate — all these are labor-intensive tasks which can easily be performed by a machine. Charter operators have a very thin margin which they try to optimise so they don’t have an exponentially expandable headcount, which leads to a limited human capacity which has to be allocated to various tasks. MySky removes the time consuming, non-added value tasks and automates them,” he added.

This enables human capital to be more pro-active in other areas of the business, such as selling and managing owner relationships, increasing overall profitability along the way.

Jean de Looz, head of Americas, MySky agreed. He said when it comes to tasks that are repetitive in nature, humans are generally not very good at observing for long periods of time. “These types of processes happen all throughout business aviation. When I sold charter there was a saying ‘You’d run the carpet ragged trying to go to a director for approval on a price’. There was a train of people always going to and from the VP of sales. AI can help to remove that.”

MySky views AI the same way as the US military, as a force multiplier, allowing you to do far more work more efficiently in a shorter period of time. But is there a ceiling on how far AI can go to streamline tasks? Marich refers to the various iterations of chatbot Chat GPT (now on version 4 at the time of publication). “It is really hard to gauge what is going to be available in two weeks or two years,” he said. But in terms of business aviation there are a set amount of routine tasks that are linked to the amount of hours the aircraft flies. So there is a margin of progression based on how much more efficient each of those tasks becomes, said Marich.

The MySky team spends a considerable amount of time trying to understand what those processes are, what the bottlenecks in a business could be. “It is as much about the engine as it is about the logic you use in working out where to drive that engine to,” said Marich.

Jean de Looz added: “There are a lot of jobs that are unidimensional in the business. AI can actually make them multidimensional and therefore far more attractive to do. It’s like going from 2D to 3D, if your job consists of line coding and maintenance invoices and you have no idea what you’re doing, now you have contextual intelligence around your tasks because of the AI.” 

“Keep in mind, business continuity is a big risk for many businesses. People leave and it is a big cost for them. Having a system that uses AI can help reduce that, which is advantageous for both parties — for folks looking for work and also for the organisations that want to keep talent,” said de Looz.