Let me nail it down right at the beginning: Airline Master Data Management is everything but not sexy! No fancy apps, no shiny user interfaces, no artificial intelligence. Boring and down-to-earth data management.

I’m profoundly convinced that this is one of the main reasons why Master Data Management (MDM) and Master Data Systems (MDS) aren’t that popular. However, that doesn’t mean that MDM isn’t of immense importance and holds various benefits to your airline.

Actually, master data is a critical driver that enables companies to utilize the vast amount of dynamic data they create nowadays in an efficient way. Master data can be seen as the powerhouse of the most valuable information that a company owns, that helps every department to deliver their job.

What Is Airline Master Data Management About?

Master Data Management, in general, but also at airlines, aims to provide a seamless process of providing master data to all relevant processes along a process chain. When looking at an airline, a few examples of master data entities are:

  • Aircraft (registration, configuration, aircraft name, etc.)
  • Airports (terminals, name, coordinates, contact details, etc.)
  • Countries (name, language, Schengen, non-Schengen, etc.)
  • Cities (name, country, etc.)
  • Timezones
  • etc.

In this context, master data management and related master data systems cover the process of collecting master data and subsequently providing it to all relevant systems and stakeholders. Accordingly, a master data system offers a comprehensive and complete set of master data as a single-source-of-truth.

Based on this explanation, master data management, together with a master data system, contributes with various benefits to the efficiency and success of an airline. Here are the most important.

Reduced workload

Without central master data management, every department is responsible for collecting and maintaining the master data they require. Accordingly, this means that a huge, identical part of master data is collected and maintained by more than one department. Primarily the collective master data entities, for example, aircraft or airports, are usually required by many business areas, which leads to effort for several departments.

With a central master data management, this effort has to be carried out only once and are provided to each business area. Therefore, it reduces the workload in business departments due to the reduced or eliminated effort to maintain master data on their own.

Central master data management improves data quality

Having one single-source-of-truth that provides all relevant master data directly leads to the benefit of an advanced data quality. Conversely, when operating a decentralized process in which several departments maintain their own set of master data, it inevitably leads to differences when it comes to master data. Data quality in this context isn’t only about the correct data but also the most up-to-date.

Data Compliance & Governance Processes

Having all master data in one place enables airlines to set up dedicated data compliance and governance processes. State-of-the-art master data systems provide the possibility to define who is allowed to change and maintain master data at certain stages. Thereby, it can be assured that data is —only— managed by the responsible department. Again, this directly leads to improved data quality.

Reduces time-to-market

When introducing new applications and systems, a central master data system reduces the setup effort. Instead of manually setting up master data within the new solution, connecting it to the primary master data system can directly provide all necessary and relevant master data.

Single-source-of-truth for all employees supporting business processes

Once a central master data management is in place, it serves at the perfect single-source-of-truth to support business processes with master data. Since many master data systems offer easy to use (mobile) applications, employees can access the latest and high-quality master data whenever needed to support their processes. Below you can find some visual examples of a master data app we provide to airlines.

airline master data management
airline master data system
airline master data app

Improves decision making

Master data management offers the possibility to provide a holistic, comprehensive, and complete view on an airline’s master data across the entire organization. Due to that, it can be ensured that decision processes that are spread across several departments are entirely based on the identical and latest set of master data. Subsequently, it helps executives, senior management, and all other employees to make informed and fact-based decisions.

Master Data Management eliminates manual processes and Excel files

At many departments of an airline, master data management still is a highly manual task. Moreover, Excel spreadsheets are a prominent tool when it comes to maintaining master data. That brings two disadvantages which can be eliminated with a central master data management.

First of all, manual processes are always a source of failures and a driver of inefficiency. Secondly, and although Excel sheets are easy-to-use, they show massive disadvantages when it comes to exchanging data with other systems.

Summarized — the benefits of Master Data Management at Airlines

Master Data Management offers a huge variety of benefits to an airline by improving data quality, reducing manual efforts and driving efficiency in process and IT projects.


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Benjamin is an aviation-enthusiast, a content-maniac, and CEO of Information Design (in this order). His daily business revolves around pioneering solutions with the aim to change the aviation industry. His visions are based on expertise gained in more than 15 years in the industry, and working with renowned airlines such as Lufthansa, Emirates, Air India, Aegean Airlines, Saudia Airlines, S7, Icelandair and many others.