Artificial intelligence continues to make inroads into the airline industry, helping carriers like Iberia deal with flight rescheduling problems and maintenance schedules. Now AI's combative little brother, neural networks, has made its first contribution to making the friendly skies more profitable. NationAir, a Montreal carrier, has installed a "yield management" system designed by BehavHeuristics Inc., to forecast passenger demand for flights at various fare levels. The system, which learns from past customer bookings and current ticket sales, relies on what the College Park, Md.-based company calls "an adaptive networks approach based on the behavioral sciences." It also incorporates some of AI's expert systems technology. Kenneth R. Stephens, the former behavioral analyst and computer scientist who helped found the company in 1986, says, "If one wants to be a neural network purist, one should stay in the research laboratory." Stephens and William R. Hutchison started the company with the aim of...

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