Michael Targett, Senior Director for Data at FlightGlobal, joins us on The Download Podcast. Michael shares how FlightGlobal utilizes the industry’s most comprehensive fleet data to derive insights that create efficiencies and cost savings.
FlightGlobal provides comprehensive data and insight. They help to discover everything about the global fleet of aircraft and world schedules to gain insight on current and future market dynamics and drivers and achieve a complete understanding of the aviation industry.
- Provides a comprehensive view of the world fleet from overall growth views to detailed information on individual aircraft and where they are flying.
- With insight into key market changes and external factors, FlightGlobal’s analysis influences business strategy and aids risk management.
- Reports and tailored advice help users understand the future make-up of the work fleet, the forecast of deliveries and the evolving trends that will influence the industry.
Key Questions in the Podcast
0:15: Tell us about yourself.
Michael introduces himself as the Senior Director for Data at FlightGlobal, a company that specializes in aviation and aerospace information. Michael oversees the data operations and analytics for a variety of data ranging from editorial content to data and key proprietary data sets such as aircraft information, schedule, and flight status.
1:20: How do you help customers with the information your company provides?
FlightGlobal provides a range of services and products which include web interfaces, grids, and websites that can be used to answer specific questions and provide data for them. Customers can run queries and filter the data down to answer very technical questions for people who are in business development or analytics in a variety of aviation companies including airlines, aerospace manufacturers, maintenance companies, or airline service partners.
2:25: Is this information important for airlines to maximize their margins?
Margins are very important in the airline industry. Michael says the accuracy of the data is the most important and they need it to see how their airline benchmarks to other airlines. It can also help them make important decisions about the company. It’s a margin game that is very dependent on the most accurate information that they can bring in. With reliable and trustworthy information, FlightGlobal can make it easy to sort through critical business questions such as whether new routes should be explored or which aircraft can yield profitability on certain routes.
3:50: What is the significance of FlightGlobal and what does it add to the industry?
Michael explains that fleet information requires the aggregation of large amounts of data from many different data sources to create the most accurate, up to the data database. With the recent acquisition of FleetStats, FlightGlobal is now able to take flight status and flight positional information and aggregate that into a status record per flight for all the flights every day. Combined with their technology and data, FlightGlobal is able to provide exact data on the configuration of each individual aircraft. This enables airlines to more accurately predict and manage seat availability but also allows service to be fully customized for the exact aircraft that will be needing services. In addition, airlines are able to compare the airplanes flying similar routes across airlines. This provides an element of differentiation by providing a better in-flight entertainment system or wider seats to gain market advantage.
7:30: How did you go about doing a proof of concept and how did you find HPCC Systems?
Michael talks about the data that they had on hand and how they needed a big data solution to build something that was more viable in the long term because the data would scale and grow and that is where HPCC Systems came into play. It is well utilized when they're experimenting and tweaking the model and adjusting the features and seeing how that affects different elements. HPCC Systems allows them to do that quickly and efficiently rather than wait for that cycle on a traditional SQL solution, which would slow down the R and D velocity.
9:00: What differences did you see when you moved over to HPCC Systems?
With just under 30,000 aircraft in service with commercial aviation and with about 100,000 flights per day, FlightGlobal needs a big data solution with significant scalability. HPCC Systems gives them the scale they need with a significant speed advantage, especially over a traditional SQL solution. Michael compares how FlightGlobal runs about 14x quicker using HPCC Systems. With aspirations to build capability around delay prediction utilizing weather datasets, the scale of HPCC Systems will allow them future growth capability.
10:00: Have you been able to get more accuracy and make more connections?
The analytics are limited by the incomplete nature of the datasets. FightGlobal utilizes Machine Learning to make assumptions about the data and make projections. For instance, with airplane travel across oceans or areas with limited connectivity, FlightGlobal is able to make forward predictions. Further, flight records will sometimes have data that varies slightly from each other yet are all related to the same flight. Using HPCC Systems features such as roll-up and de-dup has improved the efficiency of the system.
11:25: Can you provide us with some examples of how you are providing new value to your customers?
Michael discusses the concept of true capacity. FlightGlobal conducted an analysis of six months of flight capacity data for airlines flying between the U.S. and China. They discovered an 18.5 thousand seats of overstated capacity across the airlines! FlightGlobal is able to provide superior and more accurate data analytics to their customers that help companies avoid actions or solve problems that can directly equate to airline efficiency and cost savings.
13:30: Who are FlightGlobal’s customers?
Customers across all areas of aviation aerospace, including over 800-900 airlines as well as search engines, global distribution services, and online travel agencies.