10 Benefits Every Airline Gets From Real-Time Dashboards!

Managing day-to-day operations reflects a complex endeavor for every airline. Real-time dashboards help to strengthen airline operations quality and reduce complexity. Here are ten benefits airlines can get from using real-time dashboards.

10 Benefits Every Airline Gets From Real-Time Dashboards

It’s all About Decision-Making!

Managing an airline’s day-to-day operations, first and foremost, means making decisions. However, making the best decisions based on holistic and comprehensive insights is everything but simple. Airlines usually operate a complex and tight process that involves dozens of stakeholders. Moreover, dozens of unpredictable variables can affect and disrupt operational processes.

Therefore, airlines often struggle between drowning in and lacking information. A real-time dashboard aims to solve exactly this problem and provide exactly the information needed. On a more practical level, a real-time dashboard lets airlines access insights into their operational performance across various operational areas.

Although perfect decision-making is the universal purpose of a real-time dashboard, we want to provide you with more tangible benefits. That’s why we put together ten benefits airlines get from using a real-time dashboard.

#1 — A Real-Time Dashboard Let’s Your Feel the Pulse
#2 — A Real-Time Guideline & Direction for all Employees
#3 – Make Faster Decisions
#4 – Operational Alignment
#5 — Identify and Analyze Problems When They Occur
#6 — Real-Time Dashboards Help to Save Money
#7 — Real-Time Dashboards Eliminate Gut Feeling
#8 — Automated Reporting Included
#9 — Get Real-Time Alerts & Notification
#10 — The Heartbeat for all Employees

Real-Time Dashboard — A Quick Definition

Before we get into the details about how real-time dashboards help to improve an airline’s operations, let’s quickly define what a real-time dashboard is about. Therefore, we can split the term into “real-time” and “dashboard.”

A dashboard is an instrument to visualize an airline’s performance information. Typically, a dashboard contains key performance indicators (KPIs) enriched with additional relevant information. You can create simple dashboards with Excel or Powerpoint. More sophisticated solutions use data warehouses and the latest data management as well as visualization tools.

Real-time in this context means that all data in the dashboards are updated automatically and show the latest available data.

10 Benefits Every Airline Gets From Real-Time Dashboards!

Let’s discover ten benefits airlines get with using real-time dashboards. We tried to put together many benefits: From hard facts and financial aspects to emotional and subconscious aspects.

#1 — A Real-Time Dashboard Let’s Your Feel the Pulse

I know it sounds like a marketing slogan, but actually, I think it’s one of the strongest benefits of a real-time dashboard. A real-time dashboard gives the involved person access to what is happening right now. It provides an at-a-glance view of an airline’s performance and the most important key performance indicator (KPI) at this very moment.

It is not about showing what happened yesterday, the day before, or last week. It is about the performance on this day, right now. How’s the on-time performance? How many flights have been operated today? How many passengers missed their onward flight this afternoon? What about weather-related delays? And so on. For me, the core idea of an airline operations real-time dashboard is in providing the calming feeling of knowing what is going — right now.

#2 — A Real-Time Guideline & Direction for all Employees

Key Performance Indicators are probably one of the most efficient and effective instruments to steer an airline. Having the right set of Key Performance Indicators and information on a dashboard helps employees make the right decisions every time.

However, contrary to ex-post dashboards, a real-time variation provides decision exactly when it is needed. That helps every internal stakeholder and department to keep tracking the KPIs in real-time. And ultimately, it ensures that an airline’s objectives are met.

A visual example of an airline real-time dashboard

#3 – Make Faster Decisions

In operations, every minute counts. Moreover, airline operations usually require fast decisions. Taking a decision too late or making a decision based on outdated information directly lead to reduced performance and product quality. So here’s one of the strongest benefits of using a real-time dashboard.

Aberdeen’s research showed the use of real-time dashboards facilitates better decision-making. As analyzed over two years, real-time dashboard users have improved their time-to-decision at a rate 2.5 times greater than those who don’t use such dashboards. Just imagine: Instead of 10 minutes, you need 4 minutes for a decision — that’s a massive improvement.

#4 – Operational Alignment

Here’s a benefit that isn’t linked to day-to-day operations directly. However, from a holistic airline operations point-of-view, it is an essential one. Moreover, I would argue it is a side-effect: Once an airline decides to use a real-time dashboard, involved persons have to answer many questions first:

  • Which Key Performance Indicators are relevant and should be integrated?
  • What are the details of each KPI (calculation, thresholds, targets, etc.)
  • Which other information besides KPIs is required?
  • Where to get the data from?
  • And many more…

However, answering those questions creates an extremely valuable fundament for corporate-wide discussions and alignments. Moreover, once the real-time dashboard is up and running, it further drives communication and alignment. Simply put: Knowing the status of your most important KPIs makes it so much easier to discuss and share with relevant departments. Subsequently, this leads to improved decisions based on facts.


#5 — Identify and Analyze Problems When They Occur

Undoubtedly, ex-post data analysis is essential. It helps to identify patterns and root causes. Nevertheless, ex-post analyses and reports have one weakness: You always have to wait for the next daily, weekly, or monthly report.

A real-time dashboard, on the contrary, helps you to identify and analyze problems when they occur. Depending on the dashboard’s functionality, you can even forecast upcoming issues and implement mitigations. And to be very clear on this aspect: Both ex-post and real-time analytics provide value. However, a real-time dashboard adds an entirely new analytical use case.

#6 — Real-Time Dashboards Help to Save Money

Many of the listed benefits positively impact an airline’s bottom line — directly or indirectly. However, we wanted to make this aspect more tangible. Therefore, we talked to our clients and asked them about the financial benefits they’ve achieved by using a real-time dashboard.

One of the most relevant aspects mentioned is improving core airline KPIs, such as on-time performance or regularity. Although many factors —internal and external— influence an airline’s on-time performance, we observed an improvement of this KPI by 1% – 4% over 12 months. Check out the complete article: How small airlines generate savings of €365,000 annually with real-time operations dashboards.

#7 — Real-Time Dashboards Eliminate Gut Feeling

Plato, the great Greek philosopher, once said that good decisions are based on knowledge rather than gut feelings. Although I’m sure that he didn’t talk about airline operations, I think he addressed an essential aspect. In operations, many decisions are based on gut feeling or experience. And sometimes, this is the right approach.

Nonetheless, a real-time dashboard creates a knowledge fundament that can support every decision. Therefore, employees don’t have to rely on gut feelings but can make decisions based on facts and figures.

#8 — Automated Reporting Included

What’s the difference between a real-time dashboard and a performance report? Actually, there’s only one decisive aspect: Real-time dashboards are dynamic — they get an update every couple of seconds or minutes. Accordingly, they never have a final status. Reports, on the contrary, assess a certain timeframe. Just think about daily, weekly, or monthly reports. Logically, reports are static. Once created, reports typically don’t change.

Nevertheless, the content usually is identical. Therefore, many real-time dashboards offer the functionality of automated reporting. That means you don’t have to wait until someone prepares a report. Just think about all the countless hours of gathering data, calculating KPIs, and preparing a Powerpoint, Tableau, or whatsoever report. Moreover, with automated reports, you can be assured of accessing high-quality and accurate data. Thus, the previous risk of human errors vanished.

#9 — Get Real-Time Alerts & Notification

Let’s talk about the fancy yet enormous powerful stuff. Many dashboards provide functionalities to alert you actively whenever relevant Key Performance Indicators change significantly. For example, an airline’s on-time performance drops below a defined target. Whenever such events happen, you can get notified by an email, message, or push notification on your smartphone.

This may sound like a nice feature at first sight. However, it completely changes the way an airline can approach real-time monitoring. Why? Because you don’t have to monitor all KPIs constantly but can rest assure to get notified whenever something important happens.

#10 — The Heartbeat for all Employees

We started the list of benefits with the pulse. So let’s complete it with the heartbeat. What’s meant with that? An airline real-time dashboard that contains the most relevant key performance indicators reflects an airline’s heartbeat. Moreover, it creates day-to-day awareness across all employees and departments. Therefore, operational dashboards let your entire staff monitor your operational performance and contribute to its improvement.

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About the author

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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