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Decoding airline passenger traffic

Each stage of the shopper-to-flyer journey offers invaluable insights into the traveler experience.

Will Livsey

By Will Livsey, Senior product manager at Cirium

Ticket sale data tells part of the traffic story. To understand the intricacies of airline passenger traffic, we need to delve deeper into the data. A comprehensive understanding of the entire shopping and purchasing process is required. Marketing, pricing, equipment, and route planning are all affected by the ticketing cycle.

Each stage of this shopper-to-flyer journey can yield invaluable insights into the traveler experience. Aviation and travel experts can use this data to analyze, plan, and improve revenue and the passenger experience.

Breaking down the ticketing process

Traffic data can be broken into five key areas: interest, booked, ticketed, settled and flown.

Interest is the earliest indicator of future travel. Data is sourced from travel searches across thousands of websites or an airline’s own points of sale systems. Cirium provides shopping insights through its traveler search data.

An airline booking is a record or reservation of a passenger’s intent to fly at some point in the future. A booking occurs before a ticket is sold. They can be held, changed, or cancelled. However, most consumer booking tools require purchase at time of booking, so corporate travel and travel agents will still book without immediate purchase.

When the booking is purchased, an airline ticket is issued using an assigned fare – tickets are issued by travel agents and air carriers. Tickets can still be reissued or exchanged.

Funds are passed to the airlines.

Airlines record the passengers as they board their flight. Through scanning or collecting a paper or digital boarding pass. Most airports and governments require airlines to submit their flown ticket data from the boarding process.

Ticketing data types and sources

MIDT (Marketing Information Data Transfer)
MIDT data is made up of bookings from the major global distribution systems (GDS) including but not limited to Sabre, Amadeus, Worldspan Galileo, Abacus, TravelSky and many others. It includes most bookings, not made directly with the airline.

MIDT provides a wealth of information, including booking details, passenger information and fare estimates. It allows analysts to gain insights into market trends, demand patterns, and competitor performance. MIDT data allows analysts to study booking trends over time. By examining the origin and destination patterns, airlines can identify popular routes and adjust capacity accordingly.

TCN (ticket control number)
TCN is the backbone of ticketing data, facilitating tracking and management of individual transactions. TCN ensures accurate record-keeping, assists in resolving passenger issues, and aids in the reconciliation of financial transactions. Revenue managers rely on TCN to analyze ticket sales at a granular level, optimizing pricing and revenue strategies.

TCN data can be valuable for understanding the preferences and travel patterns of specific customers, facilitating personalized marketing efforts. It can also be used to detect and prevent fraudulent activities by monitoring unusual or suspicious patterns in ticket transactions.

ASP/BSP (Airline Settlement Plan/Billing and Settlement Plan)
ASP and BSP are industry-wide systems that facilitate the settlement of financial transactions between airlines and travel agents. These clearinghouses streamline the financial aspects of airline ticket sales, ensuring a transparent and efficient process for revenue collection. Analysts keen on understanding the financial landscape of the aviation industry find ASP/BSP data instrumental to understand revenue streams and cashflow.

Civil aviation authority
Primarily consisting of information collected at boarding, this traffic data is usually aggregated by the regional civil aviation authority, such as the U.S. Department of Transportation, Eurostat, and the UK CAA. It provides the most accurate passengers flown data.In many cases it also tracks customer complaints and service issues.

Read more about traffic and scheduling tools and request a demo of Cirium data.

Making use of airline traffic data

Cirium traffic data is often used alongside schedules data and appended with demographic and regional data that provides insights into travel habits and traveler personas of local airports.

Cirium Diio provides a full spectrum of data and reporting tools including schedules, demand indicators, booking data and flown data. It can be accessed through SAAS tools, APIs or provided through a custom data warehouse and integrated into an airport or airline’s existing systems.

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