Whether you’re new to air service development or a seasoned veteran, working with and interpreting air service data can present a complex set of challenges and idiosyncrasies. If you’ve ever found yourself throwing your hands in the air and blurting, “I’m out,” to anyone within earshot of your office, you’re probably not alone. Even the most experienced air service development person gets thrown data curveballs on a regular basis.
Fortunately, help is out there, and anyone can learn to unlock the ABCs of airline industry data. And you don’t have to become an expert on day one–or ever–to leverage your market’s data as a useful tool, especially when talking to your local stakeholders, an air service development consultant, or your airline contacts. While we’re on the subject of the airline peeps, remember they’re human like the rest of us. They won’t bite your head off if you ask a question. They don’t expect you or your consultant to always have all the answers because they don’t always have all the answers, either. This is because every local market situation is unique and can be complex. Your relationship with your airlines is a partnership, and both parties have the same incentive: a profitable flight. That’s why understanding the data and local market nuances are so important. It helps everyone get in front of both the risks and opportunities and, where necessary, take corrective action before it’s too late. So, where do you start?
One of the best data learning opportunities and starting points, especially for newbies, is ACI-NA’s biennial “Air Service Data Seminar” to be held January 8-10, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. There, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from a wide range of speakers, including your airport peers, airline network planners, and consultants. Topics will range from understanding traffic and fare data to demographics, schedules, and more. There are also helpful panels, such as one where former airline representatives draw from their own experience to share the dos and don’ts of air service development. There’s something for everyone, no matter what your experience level.
Getting the most out the conference is as simple as listening, but it’s also about managing expectations. Don’t expect to understand everything at once if this is your first exposure to the data. Make a list of questions as you listen to the presentations, and find a data mentor you can reach out to afterward. We’re a large industry, but also a small family. Your peers will gladly help you if you ask. Remember, every flight has an airline plus an airport on both sides of a route that want it to succeed.
At a minimum, come to the conference with the goal of having at least one or two key takeaways you can start using as soon as you return to your office. If you’re a beginner, understanding the basics of average fares and market demand is a good start, as it will help you identify your top markets so you can begin tracking their quarterly trends. For more advanced users, you might want to delve into the intricacies of yields or segment revenue, which can provide a deeper insight into your market’s performance.
You can also pick the brains of the industry’s data providers while you’re at the event. Here at Airline Data Inc, we’re always willing to assist where we can. If we can’t answer your question, we’ll gladly point you in the direction of someone who can. Like the event’s speakers, your peers, and ACI-NA, our goal is to help you make the most of the seminar. We look forward to seeing everyone in San Antonio, and we encourage everyone to stop by our booth to take a look at our data product, The Hub. It’s built with ease-of-use in mind for all user levels, and it’s a great way to start using the knowledge you’ll gain at the conference.