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Why real-time KPIs will boost your operational performance

Every airline focus on operational performance. And every airline is already trying to monitor the most relevant performance indicators such as punctuality, regularity, or misconnex quota.

When talking to performance analysts from airlines across the globe, still most of them tell us that they rely on daily or even weekly and monthly performance reports.

Let me tell you a fact: Monitoring and managing an airline’s operational performance based on weekly or monthly figures is essential. However, they have one significant disadvantage in common: They are historical.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that it isn’t vital to do that. Of course, you can analyze historical figures.

It’s perfect for assessing problems, identifying root causes, and implementing measures to avoid recurring issues in the future. This will undoubtedly help to improve your operational performance in the future.

However, there is a possibility to boost your operational performance massively: Visualize and provide your most important KPIs in real-time — to all related staff.

Let’s spend a second defining what is meant by real-time KPIs.

The KPIs are the same as you check on your daily or weekly reports. But there’s one big difference: The KPIs are calculated every second or whenever new data is available.

That means the punctuality KPI shows the punctuality at this very second. And as soon as new flight data comes in, the KPI is updated.

Pretty sure you like that idea of real-time KPIs, but I can already see the questions mark above your head, asking how this will help to boost your operational performance.

As always, it’s all about people and all about psychology.

So, here are three facts, why real-time KPIs will boost your operational performance:

Employees will be more focused

Very easy to explain. By providing a clear, transparent, and real-time big picture, operational staff will act differently.

Very often, that’s an unconscious change. However, we always get the feedback that employees are focused, on when they have access and can easily understand the big picture.

This mainly accounts, for when KPIs are starting to drop or decline. With real-time KPIs, the staff is immediately aware that something is going on and will be committed and focused on delivering the highest performance.

There are a lot of psychological studies analyzing the effect of how situational awareness improves work and work results. Although it is very complex to quantify, all of the reviews come to the result, that being aware of a situation massively improves your work.

People love to reach goals

We love to achieve goals, don’t we?

And trying to reach or finally reach the goals in terms of punctuality, stability, etc. boost the motivation of your staff.

However, there’s a pitfall — and this one again is psychological: Cause and effect. To ultimately increase an employee’s motivation, it is crucial to directly show the impact (of course, with real-time KPIs :)).

Although the human brain is brilliant in many ways, it lacks the potential to bring together cause and effect — at least if not directly and timely linked. Think about junk food: We all know that junk food is not healthy, but since the result is far in the future, we underestimate that).

Again, showing the direct effect of an employee’s work and reaching goals will boost an employee’s motivation. From experience, I can tell you it is unbelievable how hard people work to achieve them, for example, the punctuality goal of a day.

Employees can directly see the impact they make

The fact is closely linked with the latter, although different from a psychological point of view. 

It’s widespread that employees underestimate their impact on the overall success of a company/airline. The reason behind is that employees usually don’t know the big picture. 

However, by providing both specific and overall real-time KPIs, employees can assess how they are impacting the whole process. Consequently, this will add additional motivation.


Real-time KPIs won’t change your processes, and they won’t solve fundamental problems — but: they will help your employees to deliver the best performance.

And the coolest part: They will provide that performance because they want it and not because somebody tells them. And finally, improving your daily performance will ultimately contribute to optimizing overall performance, which will reflect on your daily, weekly, and monthly reports — promised.

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Benjamin Walther

CEO, Frankfurt

Benjamin is Information Design's CEO and a proven content-maniac. Besides running a successful business and developing pioneering ideas, he's dedicated to writing blog posts and creating content.

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