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Improve Your Airline’s On-Time Performance Immediately and Without Spending Thousands Of Dollars

On-time performance (punctuality) is probably the number one quality indicator for an airline (except safety aspects). And a quality indicator that affects your passengers massively. However, many airlines still struggle to improve their OTP or maintain it on a high level.

According to recent numbers from OAG, only 4 airlines are operating with an OTP >= 90%.

Even worse, almost 70% of all airlines analyzed perform with an OTP below 80%. No doubt, there are many factors influencing the OTP, and not all of them are under your airline’s control. Moreover, airlines have been investing a considerable amount of money in improving their OTP.

Investments to enhance operational processes, acquire new IT systems, or increase workforce. Indeed, some of the investments paid off with a slightly increased OTP. Nevertheless, when looking at before mentioned numbers, it seems like a massive portion of the money spent was money wasted.

With this blog post, I will show you a way to improve your airline’s punctuality — sustainably and without investing thousands of dollars. Sounds bold? I’d go even that far and have the first results within 30 days.

Real-Time Airline KPIs — The Key To Improving Punctuality

The key to this improvement lies in setting up and utilizing real-time key performance indicators. Real-time data that shows you your airline’s on-time performance. And of course also additional KPIs, for example, stability, seat-load-factor, standby crew, etc.

This information has to be available for everybody involved in your operations. Or in other words: To everybody that contributes to your airline’s on-time performance. Think about your operations controller, dispatcher, operations management, ground staff, flight crew, etc.

And there are certainly different ways to provide this information. You should have it available on large screens in control or meeting rooms, but also on tablets or smartphones. (If you need some inspiration, check out this page)

You may ask: Really? That’s it? That is going to improve the on-time performance of my airline? Actually, yes. But of course, I’m going to tell you why.

Better Decisions And Improved On-Time Performance Based On Real-Time Facts

In airline operations, every minute counts. Taking a decision too late or making a decision based on wrong/outdated information directly leads to reduced quality and reduced on-time performance.

Aberdeen research shows the use of real-time dashboards facilitates better decision-making. As analyzed over the last two years, real-time dashboard users have improved their time-to-decision at a rate 2.5 times greater than those who don’t use dashboards.

Imagine a decision that previously took you 10 minutes now made in 4 minutes. On top of that, the decision is based on real-time information.

Manage Your Airline —And Your On-Time Performance— In real-time

I’m sure you read that 100 times before: You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Accordingly, how should your staff be able to improve your airline’s punctuality in day-to-day operations, without knowing the current on-time performance? This is simply not possible. How should they be able to control and improve the influencing factors without knowing the current performance?

Again, this is simply not possible. To improve an airline’s on-time performance in daily operations your staff needs to be aware of your key performance indicators.

Real-Time Key Disruption Indicators For An Improved On-Time Performance

Key Disruption Indicators are those factors that directly impact the on-time performance of your airline. For instance, think about standby crew availability, ground time sufficiency, gate or runway utilization — just to name a few.

These factors are crucial for your on-time performance. And again, you need to be aware of those Key Disruption Indicators in real-time to pro-actively initiate mitigation measures. A proactive activation of additional standby crews, for example, will directly avoid delayed departures due to the lack of standby crews.

Awareness & Goal-Oriented Airline

We love to reach goals, don’t we? And trying to achieve or finally achieving the goals in terms of punctuality boosts the motivation of your staff. However, there’s a pitfall — and this one again is psychological: Cause and impact. To ultimately boost an employee’s motivation, it is essential to directly show the effect (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).

Additionally, it’s prevalent that people underestimate their impact on the overall success of a company/airline. “I’m just a ramp agent; if I’m five minutes late, it won’t have an impact.” That’s because employees don’t know the big picture (which is actually not their fault).

By providing both specific and overall real-time KPIs for every area, every employee can assess how they are impacting the whole process — and I’m starting to repeat myself — that will additionally motivate.

Summing it up

From working with airlines of all sizes, we’ve seen that the above aspects immediately and directly show results — or in other words, direct help to improve the on-time performance of your airline

Of course, a particular investment is necessary to provide real-time KPIs and real-time information. But compared to many other measures, this is a minimal investment.

What Do You Think?

Always happy to receive your feedback and thoughts. Just hit me up on Twitter or get in touch on LinkedIn.

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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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