I’ve set up so many airline dashboards during the last years.
Dashboards for all types of airlines: Huge network carriers, regional operators, and low-cost airlines.
And when it comes to an operations dashboard, all of them have some specific requirements. This is quite logical since they are operating different business models and probably aiming for different goals.
Dashboard contains of workspaces
A dashboard usually contains a set of so-called workspaces. A workspace visualizes different information and KPIs and is shown for defined time before the next workspace is shown.
The number of workspaces differ widely.
I’ve worked with user groups at airlines that had particular use cases. Therefore, they only required one or two workspaces.
On the other end, some users set up dashboards with more than 20 workspaces.
Nonetheless, what I’ve observed when setting up dozens of dashboards is that most of them have four workspaces in common.
I always like to call those four workspaces the dashboard fundament.
Of course, the workspaces most often look slightly different for each airline and each user group at an airline — but all of them are based on the workspaces I’m going to introduce to you below.
World Map + Top KPI Workspace
The world map provides an overview of currently operated flights.
Of course, in case you are only operating in specific parts of the world, you don’t have to show the entire world map but only required regions.
The world map is aiming to provide awareness and status of your current flights.
Besides a perfect overview, we also observed that the world map reflects a considerable asset in terms of emotional motivation.
The essential KPIs usually accompany the world map: Departure Punctuality, Arrival Punctuality, Regularity, or Delay Minutes, for example.
Flight Lists + KPIs Workspace
One of the most critical information an operational dashboard has to include is about upcoming arrivals and departures.
We like to visualize that kind of information quite traditional in two separate lists.
Very often, the lists are tailored to specific airports or even focusing on one single hub only.
However, from our point of view, simply showing a list of flights won’t do the trick. Conversely, there are two critical aspects to consider when visualizing arrival and departure flight lists.
Add useful flight information
Solely showing a flight number doesn’t provide a huge benefit. One crucial advice to enrich the flight list with helpful information.
In our example, we are showing attribute, for example, ETA, delay reasons, number of passengers, delay minutes, etc. This helps to assess the status of a flight.
Use color highlighting
Develop a color highlighting concepts that highlight flights according to different rules (specific delay minutes, ground insufficiency, etc.).
This will bring two massive advantages: On the one hand, you can quickly identify single flights with a specific problem, and on the other hand, you can quickly assess the overall situation of your operations according to the overall coloring of the flight list.
With our product, we defined several rules, but all are aiming for the same benefit: In case the flight is mostly black/white, operations run smooth.
In case the dashboard, more and more turns yellow problems start to rise. And if you can spot a lot of red on your dashboard, you are facing massive problems.
Especially when it comes to medium and long-haul operations, the importance of accurate weather information is enormous.
Since there are many providers for weather data (METAR, TAF), it is relatively easy to integrate this kind of information.
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, to avoid an information overflow, it makes sense to pay attention to highlighting specific aspects (exceptional winds, clouds, thunderstorms, etc.)
Last but not least, we strongly advise to include airport information within your operational dashboard.
From our point of view, this should include information about current aircraft at an airport and their position.
Similar to world maps and flight lists, it makes sense to include additional information on flights. And again, use color highlighting to highlight problem-related aircraft.
Additionally, you can add airport-specific information, for example, runways usage and closure.
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