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The Purpose of Statistical Analysis in Aviation - Lewis Robinson - Blog

The Purpose of Statistical Analysis in Aviation

The aviation industry covers all statistical facets of air travel.  In the world of airline travel, a passenger purchases a ticket for the flight, and the airline works in the background to ensure that all items are in place to ensure a successful flight.  There are many levels of decision-making that go into preparing a flight.  Each of these decisions derives from data points gathered from previous flights.  This statistical data influences all airline and overall aircraft industry areas to influence problem-solving and drive overall improvement.

Aviation Statistics Drive Operations

In the airline industry, operations cover all areas and roles of a scheduled flight.  Each department utilizes the data to help improve the overall experience for all parties involved.  This data could include cargo weight per passenger, fuel consumption per flight, flights rerouted, crew changes, food costs, idle aircraft, canceled flights, and other operational components.

Within a competitive market for passenger dollars, continuous improvement and correct decision-making are imperative.  Airlines utilize the analysis of predictive vs prescriptive analytics to determine the areas of improvement to focus on to gain the competitive advantage.  Predictive analytics are derived when organizations create statistical techniques to predict future trends, risks, and problems.  Prescriptive analytics formulate risk analysis and other methods to accommodate and plan for the negative trends gathered from predictive analysis.

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Aviation Statistics Drive On-Time Performance

Airlines are judged based upon flights arriving on time.  When an airline has a reputation for late arrivals or delays, it will lose critical ground in a competitive business.  There are multiple data points to review for on-time performance.  These data points include actual arrival time to schedule times, reasons for the delay, time per flight, fuel consumption tied to delays, and financial losses linked to delays.  Once an airline has a reputation for being late, it is hard to change perception.

Aviation Statistics Drive Passenger Management and Sales

Passengers drive the airline industry.  Each airline has a break-even point for every flight and needs to fill a certain number of seats to meet the costs of the flight.  Airlines typically cancel flights when sales fall below this level, and passengers move to other flights later.  In some cases, airlines will transfer passengers to flights on competitor planes.  Either way, it is lost revenue and leads to lower customer satisfaction.  The statistical data related to the mechanics of an aircraft is vital, but if a plane can’t take off due to low sales, the airline will face inevitable closure.

Passenger statistical data includes multiple data points.  These include passengers per plane, costs per passenger, cancellations, cancellation reasons, baggage lost, seasonal purchases, and overall profitability.  Airlines want to understand why the passenger chose the airline and if the passenger enjoyed the flight.  Can the airline count on the customer for future business?  Each airline monitors online websites dedicated to options for passengers to share their thoughts and experiences.  A negative experience can become a high-profile problem for an airline with the speed of social media communications. 

Aviation Statistics Drive Safety

The aircraft industry passes when the plane arrives safely and fails when a plane crashes.  Although crashes are rare, statistical analysis proactively predicts future problems and addresses them before they occur.  Primary safety measures include understanding why planes crashed in the past and what could have prevented each occurrence.  One area is understanding changing weather patterns for different seasons to determine flight adjustments. 

Although nothing is guaranteed, the prescriptive analysis helps the aircraft industry understand the future risks and make necessary adjustments.  The role of safety statistics is to ensure all people working on the plane are comfortable and prepared to land the aircraft if a problem or emergency develops during the flight.

The airlines utilize multiple statistical data points to ensure successful and safe operations. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides an extensive list of references to learn why statistics used in the aviation industry are essential. 

Publish Date: January 7, 2022 3:14 PM

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