Initially, Airlines Focus On Internal Data When Setting Up An Operations Dashboard
Nowadays, almost every airline possesses a vast amount of data. Data about aircraft, ground and flight processes, maintenance, passengers, and many more.
When airlines start to set up an airline operations dashboard, the approach strongly focus on internal information. Undoubtedly, that totally makes sense. Especially, since the most critical KPIs rely on —and can be calculated— based on an airline’s internal data.
However, once a dashboard is up-and-running usually a process is initiated that aims for further information-enrichment. Very often airlines continue to concentrate on internal information.
External Data Massively Adds Value To An Airline Operations Dashboard
However, it is often overseen that also external information provides enormous value and benefits. Especially in order to provide a comprehensive situational awareness.
With this blog post, we want to introduce four essential external data sources you should integrate into your airline operations KPI dashboard.
#1 — Weather Information
There are only a few other industries that depend and rely on weather as much as the aviation industry does. Especially when it comes to medium and long-haul operations, the importance of accurate weather information cannot be underestimated.
Since there are many providers for weather data (METAR, TAF), it is relatively easy to integrate this kind of information into your airline operations dashboard. The challenge we observed is in translating the information (METAR and TAF are quite cryptic for many people). That’s why we put a lot of effort into visualizing the text-based information.
Additionally, in order to avoid an information overflow on your airline operations dashboard, it makes sense to pay attention to highlighting specific aspects (exceptional winds, clouds, thunderstorms, etc.) Below you can see an example of how translated and visualized weather information in the context of the aWall look.
An important aspect to mention: Integrating weather shouldn’t be only about current weather but especially about forecast values.
#2 — Airport Information
Airport information (especially NOTAMS) are pretty similar to weather information. It is relatively easy to integrate this kind of information into your airline operations dashboard. But again, the challenge is in interpreting NOTAMS and visualizing the information.
Most of the NOTAMS that are published by airports have only a small relevance to your operations. That means the challenging task is in filtering NOTAMS, assessing NOTAMS, and finally only visualizing those NOTAMS that impact your operations.
#3 — Social Media Information
I had so many discussions with colleagues from operations, and I still can hear them saying, “we don’t need social media information in operations.” Recently, I’ve observed that it is slowly changing.
From our point of view, social media information is just an additional pillar to gain the perfect situational awareness. Therefore, it reflects an important aspect of your airline operations dashboard. Indeed, you don’t have to show every tweet and each Instagram photo that is tagged with your airline name. That doesn’t make sense at all.
Again the challenging part is in interpreting and curating social media information. The goal behind always has to be to provide a comprehensive view. Here are two examples of how we solved this challenge.
#4 — Flight Tracking Systems (e.g. FlightRadar24)
Now we are talking about the premium class. Why premium class? Because there’s such a massive potential related to flight tracking system data. But it also bears quite a considerable complexity. So, what should you do with such data?
The answer is: Real-time competitor benchmarking.
Imagine you could benchmark your airline’s operational performance with your competitors — in real-time on your airline operations dashboard. Think about monitoring your OTP and comparing it to your most important competitors. Or comparing your delay minutes ratio at a particular airport with other carriers at that airport. And so on.
This bears a massive potential. Potential to identify weaknesses in comparison with your competitors, but also a potential for further improvement measures. Therefore, we also see this as a strong airline operations trend in 2020.
Nevertheless, it has to be said that this approach requires a lot of development.