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Aviation Data

What Can Airlines Learn From Aviation Data Analysis
Aviation Data

 Over the past few years, the concept of “big data” has gained steam in many professional industries. Big data refers to large amounts of data that are so massive or complex that it is difficult to process manually. Using big data, banks can reduce risk and fraud, the healthcare industry manages patient records with better accuracy, and even sports franchises use analytics to evaluate their game plans. But what can big data do for the aviation industry?


When looking at aviation, data can be collected and analyzed using many metrics. Flight tracking software like ARGUS TRAQPak collects complex real-time and historic flight operations data from airports around the world to create operational insights. The metrics often highlighted for this analysis include aircraft type, route reports, flight hours, and airport activity.


What can aviation professionals learn from the data TRAQPak amassed in 2020?


Historic Data
Aircraft operations can use historical flight data to better understand the needs of travelers. In 2020, aviation activity declined worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the demand for flights to leisure destinations like California and Florida had smaller declines than flights to business destinations such as New York and New Jersey. With this data, an operation can efficiently manage their aircraft and crews for the most requested locations.


Even in leisure travel, the most requested destinations may change seasonally. In the winter months, travelers will likely choose skiing destinations, while in the summer customers may opt for beach vacations. Understanding the trends outlined by historic aviation data shows the peak times for flights at airports around the country.


In addition, historical data shows passengers opted for aircraft with smaller cabins more often than larger ones in 2020. The data suggests that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, aircraft which carry fewer passengers were in demand. Therefore, an operation may choose to put resources into marketing their aircraft with smaller cabins.

Real Time Data
While historic data can identify trends over time, real time aviation data can tell operations what is needed immediately. Access to up-to-the-minute data can show the times when they may need extra staff to keep up with demands or to deploy additional aircraft to an airport.


By tracking current aircraft activity, operations can identify prospects who are visiting the region. Having this information allows airlines to take advantage of marketing opportunities to their target clientele.


Operations can also adopt data-based technology to reduce fuel consumption. An aircraft’s performance is affected by airspace congestion. Real-time updates on traffic and calculations on the estimated time of arrival produce an optimal speed, so flights can avoid wasting fuel while flying in holding patterns. Airport data allows pilots to plan their fuel stops so they can purchase from locations with the lowest prices.


Over time, analysis of data can be used to forecast future aviation activity. Reviewing monthly reports reveals trends in activity. Those trends often reveal insight into the next month. Analysts will need to remember that 2020 was a Leap Year, so February had 29 days which will affect the monthly flight activity total.


All flight activity was down in 2020, by analyzing data signs of recovery can be seen. When comparing to 2019 data, aviation activity was down 30.8% in the first six months of 2020. The last six months were better although it was down 17.2% compared to the same period the previous year. This increase allows TRAQPak to forecast that the first six months of 2020 will continue to show an increase in flight activity.


Year over year data suggests what can be expected over the course of the next 12 months. October is historically the busiest month of the year for Part 91 and Part 135 aircraft. Despite the dramatic declines, October 2020 was still one of the busiest months, trailing only January for total movements. Airlines who followed these yearly trends were prepared for a spike in flights.


Analyzing data is not the only factor to take into consideration when creating a forecast. Outside factors must be considered as well. In 2020, the pandemic caused flight activity to drop dramatically. However, the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines will likely have a positive effect on the outlook for 2021. The Olympic Games usually increases international flight activity, so analysts can predict an increase around that time.


Forecasting can be a useful tool, but the results are subject to change due to world events. As seen in 2020, the global pandemic had a significant impact on aviation operations.

Competitive Advantage
The careful use of data can create a competitive advantage in the aviation market. TRAQPak allows airlines to track their own activity as well as their competitors. The data identifies who the competition is and what they do. This insight provides a look at the fleets, schedule, and routes of competing airlines. With the information, aviation operations can determine if they need to make schedule changes or add additional routes.


Airport activity reports are useful in determining traffic flow. The traffic flow can help determine if operations should add routes to new airports or if additional routes are needed to those locations. Adding routes and destinations where they are needed will increase revenue and customers.
TRAQPak software also provides contact information for marketing purposes. This information can be used to reach out to potential business partners or contact airports about expending airline routes.


TRAQPak offers the most powerful market intelligence tools on the market today. A combination of AMSTAT data and FlightBridge creates insights not available anywhere else. TRAQPak flight tracking software collects real-time and historic global flight operations data and aviation tracking to increase efficiency. This flight tracking software and robust database provide information important to numerous types of aviation businesses from charter operators to fixed based operators.

Written  By:

Travis Kuhn

Vice President of Market Intelligence

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