Especially for hub-and-spoke airlines, Connex Management reflects a crucial aspect of their airline operations. Moreover, many passengers consider a seamless and stress-free connection as one of the essential quality indicators of an airline.
That’s why an increasing number of airlines are trying to set up real-time dashboards that not only visualize general, crucial overall performance indicators, such as punctuality or regularity but also specific connex management-related KPIs.
However, after going down that road with airlines, our experience shows that real-time dashboards that visualize connex management-relevant information and KPIs are everything but not trivial. The aspect that mainly drives the complexity is that additional and specific information is required to calculate the relevant KPIs and provide a valuable dashboard.
With this blog post, we want to provide a high-level overview of data that is required to set up an airline connex management dashboard and give you a visual example.
What an airline real-time connex management dashboard should contain
From our experience, a connex-dashboard should —first and foremost— visualize the passenger connection streams at a dedicated airport/hub. Therefore, it is essential to design a graphical visualization of these streams, showing the inbound flights, connecting streams, and corresponding outbound flights. Additionally, since this is the crucial KPI, the dashboard should include the Misconnex Quota as most crucial quality aspect of connex-driven operations.
The airline connex management dashboard below illustrates our approach to this topic. The connection visualization in the center of the dashboard highlights the following aspects:
Incoming flights including the latest times and arrival gates on the left, accompanied by a number of connecting passengers (clustered according to compartments – first, business, premium eco, and eco). For the flight at the top 3 first-class passengers, 9 business passengers, 17 premium eco, and 25 eco passengers are connecting to outbound flights.
The column in the middle of the visualization shows the number of passengers of a particular connection together with the needed and available transfer time. For the first line, 9 business, 11 premium eco, and 12 eco passengers are connecting to the flight on the right. The required connecting time is 25 minutes, and the available connecting time is 20 minutes. Since the needed transfer time is higher than the available, those numbers are colored in red.
On the right side, the outbound flights are listed, accompanied by the number of connecting passengers as well as the latest times and gate information.
What kind of data is needed to set up an airline connex management dashboard
Obviously, the essential information to create an airline connex management dashboard is about passengers. That means for each passenger, the dashboard requires corresponding inbound and outbound flight information. This information is typically provided by systems, for example, Amadeus Altea, Galileo or Worldspan.
Latest Flight Information
In order to create an airline connex management dashboard that provides valuable information, it is essential to have the latest flight information available. Most crucial data in this context is about the latest times:
- scheduled time of departure
- scheduled time of arrival
- estimate time of departure
- estimate time of arrival
- actual time of departure
- actual time of arrival
This, of course, is required for both inbound and outbound flights. Usually, this type of data is provided by the operations control system, for example, Sabre Movement Manager, Netline, or AIMS. Since Operations Control Systems are typically the primary source for real-time dashboards, this kind of information is usually already available.
Airport Information in this context is about up-to-date information concerning the arrival gate/position of the inbound flight and departure gate/position of the outbound flight. The source system for this information differs from airline to airline. Sometimes the data are provided by CRS, such as Amadeus, sometimes the operations control system holds this information, and sometimes dedicated other systems have to be connected to the dashboard.
Probably the most challenging type of information which is required to set up a connex dashboard. To highlight critical connections, it is of great importance to provide the needed transfer time for each combination of inbound and outbound flights.
Some airlines can only provide very general needed connection times, for example, average minutes from one terminal to another. However, the value of a connex-dashboard sharply increases as the accuracy of this information increases. Some airlines operated dedicated systems providing detailed connecting times from one gate to another one, taking into account actual waiting times, Schengen/non-Schengen aspects, current infrastructure limitations, etc.
Nonetheless, a possible approach is in starting with generic connecting times and continuously improving and detailing the figures.