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How CORONA Changes Airline KPIs Radically!

CORONA is the dominating topic of the airline and aviation industry for many months now. Unprecedented, devastating, and destructive are just a few adjectives that describe the airline nation's state at this moment. However, we want to take another perspective on CORONA and the airline industry with this blog post.

Analyzing CORONA’s Impact on Airlines in the Micro!

Instead of looking at the macro level and analyzing CORONA’s impact on the entire industry, we take a deep dive and elaborate on CORONA’s impact on airline operations performance indicators (KPIs). To be more precise, we analyze three aspects in this context:

  1. We take a look at KPIs themselves. If and how is CORONA changing airline operations KPIs?
  2. We analyze if and how the usage of KPIs has changed since CORONA disrupted the airline industry.
  3. We discuss new technologies and functions that became increasingly important due to a continuously changing environment.

CORONA has Changed the Airline Operations KPI Landscape — Rapidly and Sustainably!

Let’s recall the glorious airline days before the pandemic broke loose. Almost every airline faced operational issues due to congested airspaces, crowded airports, or aircraft/crew shortages. Accordingly, operational airline KPIs that helped a) provide a holistic picture of the operations and b) improve processes were essential. Additionally, airlines and passengers considered operational KPIs as significant differentiators — on-time performance, missed baggage, or stability were vital!

Many Airline Operations KPIs Lost Importance From one Day to the Other!

From one day to the next, most of those KPIs —temporarily— lost importance. Nobody was interested in OTP or lost baggage. Moreover, airlines needed an entirely new set of additional KPIs: Performance indicators that helped assess operations in CORONA times. At a very early stage, we published a lengthy blog post about KPIs airlines have to monitor during (and after) CORONA, such as:

  • Parked aircraft
  • Restricted countries
  • Paused/operated routes
  • Number of passengers
  • Number of block hours

In the long run and during the next months, when (hopefully) CORONA slowly vanishes due to global vaccination programs, airlines have to incorporate additional KPIs. At that stage, performance indicators that allow airlines to compare the current level operations to recent weeks and pre-CORONA times will be essential. These KPIs will give airlines the possibility to track their way back to normal operations. Operated aircraft, routes, or countries and the number of passengers will play an essential role in that context. 

Simultaneously, previously important KPIs, such as on-time performance or missed connex, will quickly reach previous interest. Therefore, we believe that the airline operations KPI landscape has been and will continue to expand to additional KPIs that provide holistic awareness.

CORONA Disrupted Airlines’ KPI Usage!

Compared to the type of KPIs, we can see an even more disruptive change in the way airlines use KPIs. Obviously, and similar to many other companies, CORONA first and foremost changed the way people work. A considerable portion of back-office staff has started working from home or remotely. Subsequently, previously used KPI setup with large video walls or department screens were obsolete. On the contrary, airlines had to quickly adapt to the situation and switch to mobile KPI solutions. Personally, I have been a huge advocate of mobile airline KPI solutions for ages. Therefore, I consider CORONA as the spark that ignited the mobile age. 

With CORONA, a Much Broader Audience has Been Interested in Airline Operations KPIs

Mobile solutions have become a necessity at many airlines for a second reason. With CORONA, the audience at airlines that is interested in operations KPIs grew massively. Literally, everybody at an airline wants to know the number of performed flights or active routes. Operations KPIs have been no longer an exclusive management tool or operational staff but essential for everyone at an airline. Therefore, mobile KPI solutions that are accessible with any mobile are the perfect solution.

CORONA Accelerated new KPI Technologies and Features

While operating in a completely new environment, many airlines required new technologies and features in terms of KPI solutions. Similar to the second aspect, those features help airlines to better monitor and manage the pandemic situation. Here are a few examples.

Push Notifications

Due to the different working modes with remote work, airlines require new possibilities to ensure proper communication flows. The lack of former face-to-face communication at the office regularly led to incomplete information. KPI push notifications solve this problem — at least partially. Such smart functions send out messages to everyone’s mobile whenever selected KPIs (drastically) change. Thereby, everyone can rest assured that he/she is informed whenever something important happens.


With CORONA airlines, more than ever want to know what their competitors are doing. What’s the number of flights they’ve already resumed? How many countries do they operate in? Just two exemplary questions airline managers have been seeking answers for. Subsequently, benchmark KPIs have gained special importance for the last 12 months. Airlines no longer monitor their own KPIs solely but also have a close eye on their competitors.


In fact, real-time KPIs are not a new feature. On the contrary, we’ve been providing real-time KPI solutions for over a decade. Nevertheless, with CORONA and a rapidly changing environment (regulations, case, etc.), real-time KPIs gained more and more importance. 

What do you Think? 

Tell me if and how CORONA has changed the way your airline handles (operational) KPIs. Always happy to get your feedback and start a discussion.

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Benjamin Walther

CEO, Frankfurt

Benjamin is Information Design's CEO and a proven content-maniac. Besides running a successful business and developing pioneering ideas, he's dedicated to writing blog posts and creating content.

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