Articles Development

2017 Passengers + New Ops-Infos

We are very proud to announce that we have updated the 2017 passenger data. In the process, on demand by our airline users, we also added movement information to our database. And operational information. And …

2017 Passenger Data Update

With 445 European airports with monthly data and 124 more airports with annual data, we have more European airports covered than any other source we are aware of – which includes ACI or Which makes us incredibly proud, we do become a source to recon with!

Again, there were substantial offsets we had to face, not just Fraport Greece vs. the Hellenic CAA, but also German airport association’s ADV monthly figures 2017 not summing up to the “accumulated total” for three airports (including Berlin-Schönefeld)… The French Airports data by available, though not in a single file, the “fighting Irish” being late again, announding the updated 2017-numbers to be published April 22nd; coincidentally the date Routes Europe starts, so the airlines there cannot make much use of the data?
The Numbers Game still in full swing, we keep wondering, when airports recognize that 25 years after the rise of the Internet, this is nothing but embarrassing. You don’t have your main KPI’s under control? Months after the New Year, you still do not know, how many passengers you handled on a monthly basis?

Any airport for which we do not have the data on file by April: This is embarrassing, isn’t it?
Any airport for which ACI or your airport association’s data differ from your own: Ain’t that embarrassing?

Being a Subject Matter Expert for A-CDM, Deicing and Airport Operations Centers: The main obstacle is the lousy data quality of airports. Very few exceptions. Too many examples. If you such “manage” your main KPIs, how lousy does your other data have to be? This is a wake-up-call! And we will keep sticking the finger into the wound. We focus on quality. we are sorry we can only do that much…?

2017 Movement Data

We have monthly movement data for 367 airports, we hope to increase that number now year-by-year. We do not know of any source matching that either. We have added it to the dashboard, we are in the process to extend the commercial analysis to also contain the detail. On the dashboard we will also try to change our passenger trend graph. Same issue, very often the information is inconsistent.

Airport Operational Data

Again, listening to our paying airline customers, we have worked hard to add operational data to the database. That information we were told was so far collected from a number of sources but needed to qualify the airport. We have already been praised already that this new data makes our site more useful to our airline customers.

On the dashboard you see directly runway length, width, surface and altitude (all European-metric). Where an airport has multiple runways, we reference the main one, usually the longest/widest. And we don’t count grass or other unenforced surfaces (except where no paved runway exists). Then we also added approach technology, the rescue and fire fighting services category, if there is customs on site, if the airport requires slot approval, if the ground handling is mandatory or not and finally, if the airport is open 24 hours or not. We also added some notes of our own below the Wikipedia extract where necessary (i.e. about substantial offsets between passenger sources).

But What Happened to the Maps??

Yes, they are watermarked now and no longer free to use. The last year we provided free custom-made maps to many airports including a special version for any airport in TheRouteShop. Unfortunately, our efforts did not “pay off”, we had no sale to a single airport since. We keep maintaining a comparison of airports’ info on their “catchment area” (isochrones) vs. our neutral and fully automated version that uses the same data all across Europe. While we have many airports with reasonable data, we still see too many airports exaggerating. Truth be told, we also see some airports with too low numbers.

Our commercial customers, supporting our development by ordering our commercial analyses say they appreciate the map as an information. But they expressed to be okay if we watermark them “not for commercial use”. They see those valuable to qualify very small airports. Else they understand the value of the competitive analysis.

They also financed the development of a customized solution to convert the maps, generating an image on the server. With up to 30MB, the interactive maps were considered a problem in the research phase, when a quick impression is sought. Whereas once decision is being done to pay for our analysis, we still provide the interactive maps. Sure then without the watermark. You can still see them in our demo-airports.

What Happened to Route Level Analysis?

As explained in the blog article The Bias of Route Viability Analyses, we worked on a number of ways to apply our data to the existing “tools”, only to learn that those analysis are not just wrong in concept, they are misleading and biased towards qualifying to add more traffic on existing routes. Exemplary was the statement of a senior manager from a large budget airline reading that very article. She confirmed that those “factors” and “coefficients” in ACI’s introduction to QSI exactly is the problem. They allow the “analyst” to “adjust” the outcome of the analysis to meet wishes, not reality! She also emphatically confirmed the summary from the last paragraph:

My airline friend and I discussed for several hours (thank you!). And rather at the end, he emphasized, why he invests only little time in “analyses”. Because all those analyses will promote the big buddies. They will confirm business potential on the large airports with data silos full of supporting statistics. But they will disqualify any of the small airports solely based on the fact that there are no “supportive statistics”. Following our discussion, he wrote me a very short message: “Jürgen, the game is rigged. Your catchment area stuff is the first thing I saw to give me a somewhat unbiased view on smaller airports in years. Those [other] analysis tools are sold to sell us statistics. Stupid network planners and the ones trying to play it safe and by the books, requesting the QSI. It’s why mostly the small airlines, who can’t afford those tools start new routes.” And why he emphasized to me that he and anyone in his team wouldn’t bother about any route viability studies based on the statistical history of the airport, except for an indicator. “If you play it safe, you just follow the crowd.”

That learning curve and feedback from some of the most experienced people we know caused us to reconsider and understand that it doesn’t make sense to follow that line into a dead-end. Those analyses are biased, from beginning to end. What we do is to focus on facts. Our work allows smart airline managers to identify under-served airports based on unbiased facts. Instead of following the beaten path doing “route level”, we will focus to improve “search” instead.

So – What’s next?

While we focused to get the new map-to-image into the dashboard, also enabling the watermark, as well as adding the new information, we will now update and expand the analysis detail page, getting that ready before Routes Europe as a contemporary, dynamically generated PDF file. We could not do that server-side before we got the map-to-image solved. No we can, now we will.

We also will have “new” data in the extended analysis, making it the more valuable a source. With a focus on airlines, our airline clients expressed their appreciation of unbiased data.

With airports interested to obfuscate the reality, misunderstanding “marketing” as constructing “facts”, our realistic data is mostly welcome at airlines. We do have some airports making use of our commercial analysis, but we appreciate the much more valuable interest by airlines in factual, unbiased and sound data. Not to forget their willingness to pay for that.


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