Boosting your airline’s KPIs with new ideas seems never like a wrong idea. However, the current pandemic causes many airlines to re-think their key performance indicators’ (KPI) usage. 

Some are forced to establish new KPIs or deploy new concepts that cope with the current de-centralized working situation. Whether you are in that situation or just want to push your KPIs to the next level — here are my top 5 pieces of advice to improve your airline KPIs.

You can consider the below as a mashup of previous blog posts. Since I’ve written many posts about improving, tuning, and enhancing airline key performance indicators, I collected the most-essential aspects with this blog post.

Here we go with the most important airline KPI ideas.

#1 THE MOST IMPORTANT AIRLINE KPI IDEA: BRING ‘EM TO THE SMARTPHONE

This had been one of my most important tips, even before the Coronacrisis started. If you are still relying on solutions that a) doesn’t offer mobile access to your key performance indicator or b) do not provide a perfect user experience on smartphones, you should start acting now.

And bringing your airline’s KPIs to the smartphone does not mean to access them with your smartphone browser. Mobile availability means dedicated and seamlessly integrated apps that allow swift and easy access to all relevant information.

If you want to know more about why mobile usage of key performance indicators is super-essential, you should first read this blog post.

KPI IDEA #2: THINK ‘EM DYNAMICALLY

An airline KPI idea, or call it piece of advice, I promoted at the end of 2019 (see here) for the first time. With the mentioned post, I described the relevance of dynamic KPIs in today’s rapidly changing world. Dashboards with a fixed set of KPIs are just no longer state-of-the-art. On the contrary, you have to set up solutions and processes that allow you to adapt new KPIs and replace or adjust existing ones swiftly. 

The current pandemic powerfully underscores the relevance of this approach. From one day to the other current KPIs are no longer relevant (at least temporarily), and a whole bunch of new KPIs is required to assess the situation.

So, you should definitely start thinking airline key performance indicators dynamically.

AIRLINE KPI IDEA #3: MAKE ‘EM SMART

Probably one of the hottest new concepts when it comes to airline key performance indicators (KPI). The idea behind smart airline key performance indicators is to not only calculate 10, 15, or 20 different KPIs but to calculate thousands of KPIs automatically. 

For example, instead of calculating one single on-time performance, I’d advise calculating hundreds of different, more specific OTPs. For example:

  • An OTP for every sub fleet you’re operating
  • An OTP for every airport you’re operating.
  • A comparison of your OTP with yesterday’s OTP
  • A comparison of your current OTP with the average of the week
  • A comparison of your current OTP with last hour
  • A comparison of your current OTP with the average of the month
  • A comparison of your OTP with each day of the year that had a similar number of passengers
  • A comparison of your current OTP with the last 2, 3, 4, … same days of the previous weeks
  • A comparison of your current OTP with your competitors
  • Etc.

By doing so, you quickly end up with hundreds of different OTPs. And of course, you should repeat this exercise with all your other KPIs: Regularity, number of passengers, delay minutes, delay reasons, etc. 

But why do I call them smart? The “smartness” starts when it comes to providing the KPIs to your users. Instead of showing all hundreds and thousands of KPIs to your users, you only show the one essential. By doing so, you’re not only providing KPIs but smart knowledge that drives new insights.

Read this blog post to find out more about Smart KPIs

#4 MIX ‘EM UP

Providing an unmatchable situational awareness and source for insights is always about the perfect mixture of KPIs. Similar to any other product, the composition of its ingredients is essential. My piece of advice in this context to mix key performance indicators.

If you ask how: Go for the 60-30-10 approach.

60% of your dashboard should contain so-called Evergreen KPIs. Evergreen KPIs are the ones that have been around for centuries and will play a significant role in the future (OTP, regularity, seat load factor, etc.). 

30% of your KPIs should concentrate on dynamic/temporary KPIs. These are the KPIs that are important for a certain period or specific circumstances.

10% of your KPIs should focus on new aspects. These are your trial-and-error KPIs. You can use them to a) test if they support your staff or b) test if a particular topic is relevant.

AND FINALLY, AIRLINE KPI IDEA #5: KEEP ‘EM MINIMALISTIC

The last airline KPI idea actually is the fundament for everything. I’ve written tons of posts about how to set up and design KPIs. Still, this is done wrong very often. Don’t over-engineer or overthink your KPIs. Keep them straight-forward in both their definition/calculation and design. Having complex KPIs that no one understands or a design that no one understands is the absolute killer. Although this advice sounds super-trivial, it turned out that it is the most complex. 

If you have more questions, hit me up on Twitter @Ben__ID1


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Benjamin is an information-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 way companies use information. His visions are based on expertise gained in more than 15 years in the industry, and working with renowned companies all over the globe.