How airlines can capitalize on their on-time performance

Past winners like JAL, Iberia and Delta have creatively used their awards

It’s an exciting time of year for Cirium as we ramp up to announce the winners of our tenth annual On-time Performance Service (OPS) Awards for airlines.

A lot of hard work goes into making sure a flight is on time and any number of things can go wrong that are beyond any airline’s control. Factors like airport congestion, taxi times from the runways, gate availability, those tend to be in the control of air traffic control or the airport itself. If you have exceptional on-time performance, then you can proudly announce that you’ve done a good job in spite of everything that has worked against you.

To tell you the truth, airlines do not get nearly enough credit for how difficult it is to provide air transportation. Although you are expected to get travelers from point A to point B on time, it’s more important that you get travelers from point A to point B safely. Many travelers have a difficult time understanding that delays will happen. It is the nature of air travel.

Here are a few ways airlines can capitalize on their on-time performance:

Feed it to the marketing department

Customer satisfaction is about more than airfare discounts and flight availability. When considering an airline, travelers also need timeliness and assurance.

Traveler experience and brand reputation is impacted by real-time changes within your operations. Fluctuations in your activities, or your competitors, can swing value in your favor.

When an airline makes a statement about on-time performance, they’re often met with skepticism because the public often doubts an airline would report accurate information about itself. Promoting performance numbers reported by a third party helps remove that skepticism and increase credibility.

If you have an impressive on-time performance ranking, then you can leverage that information as content for your promotional channels, including social media, corporate blogs and advertisements.

Japan Airlines displays their award recognition on the homepage of their website.

Delta published a press release on their big win in 2017 when they became the most on-time global airline among mainline carriers.

Iberia Airlines included their accomplishment in their cover photo on Twitter and shared several posts about their win.

Work it into corporate sales discussions with key corporate accounts

After promoting your on-time performance to the general traveler audience, you can also use it to strengthen relationships with corporations and their business travelers. Many airlines already use their on-time performance ranking to offer service level agreements to corporations that greatly influence purchasing decisions.

A few years ago, both Delta and United started offering an Operational Performance Commitment (OPC) in their corporate contracts, promising to pay corporate customers if they don’t maintain better on-time performance than their competitors. As a result, corporate customers are becoming more loyal because of the effort airlines are making to hold themselves to a higher standard.

Use it for operations analysis to pinpoint improvement projects

The beauty of living in the age of big data is that is allows airlines to take a deeper look at what they can change to impact on-time performance. Airlines can create visibility to flag operations issues by building on-time metrics into their performance tracking. Monitoring on-time performance by route, by airport, and by aircraft, allows airlines to use data analytics to bring the obviously low hanging fruit to the forefront and make quick changes to gradually improve their operations. Many of the most data-driven airlines hold weekly operational leadership meetings where team members from divisions across the airline gather to analyze individual details that had an impact on on-time performance.

View a free interactive report at FlightStats, by Cirium, to take a more detailed look at how airlines stack up.

On-time performance data can help you understand the performance of your network and codeshare partners. This is important because when a traveler buys a ticket for a flight that is operated by a partner, they’re still going to blame your airline any delays. Be diligent about evaluating partner performance or thinking strategically about how to become more synchronized. It’s essential to reputation management and overall operational numbers that partnerships support your business objectives and complement your network.

10th annual On-time Performance Awards coming in January 2019

Determining the winners of the OPS Awards requires a team of data experts applying advanced analytics to examine flight status arrival and departure data aggregated from global sources including civil aviation authorities, airlines, airports, and major online reservation systems.

To learn more about our processes and criteria for selecting the award winners, download our whitepaper.

If you believe your airline’s flights are not fully covered in our database, please contact me and I would be happy to discuss our Airline Partnership Program where we can integrate your real-time flight status data at no cost and provide you with complimentary tools to help monitor and benchmark your on-time performance.

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