At Cirium, we’re proud of our dedicated team of expert researchers who have created the world’s most prestigious and reliable fleets database.
To discover what makes our fleets data and the talented people at the helm of our extensive data collection operation so unique, we spoke with one of our top data researchers, Gabby Gibson.
Gabby has risen up the ranks at Cirium and is now team leader of data research for our helicopters data services.
Tell me about your earliest aviation memory?
I was seven years old when my family went to Disneyland in Florida and I flew on a 747 operated by Virgin Atlantic from Gatwick. I remember seeing the latest films on the IFE seatback and when I got back, I bragged about the films that I watched. Whenever I see a Virgin Atlantic 747 it always takes me back to those holidays.
Virgin Atlantic’s fleet as of 16/03/2020 consists of 7 in-service 747-400, 15, 787-9, 2 A330-200, 10 A330-300E and the latest edition to their fleet 4 A350-1000. The queen of the skies (747-400) still departs daily from London Gatwick and Manchester International to destinations including Orlando on a daily basis. The oldest 747-400 in their fleet is 22 years and 8 months old and is registration G-VAST, it is configured with 14 upper class, 375 economy and 66 premium economy seats.
(Virgin Atlantic aircraft profile – 747-400)
What’s your favorite aircraft type and why?
Having worked at Cirium for 8 years, the one I will always remember on my first day at work at the Heathrow office was the landing of the Airbus A380. The size of this aircraft made it my favourite and the one I looked out for the most. Only a couple of months ago, I flew on it for the first time to the Maldives with Etihad and it was the smoothest ride of all my fights so far.
The A380 will end production in 2021. Major operators of the type such as Emirates have opted to swap their orders for the A330 and A350 models, underlying the trend towards smaller, more efficient aircraft. As of 16 March 2020, there are 219 in-service A380 with 115 being operated by Emirates Airline. The below pie chart shows a breakdown of the in-service fleet by airline operator.
Turbulence – ride that wave or buckle up for the bumps?
I used to love the turbulence, I found it fun like a roller coaster ride. Now though I’m a bit more of a seat belt wearer and would prefer a smoother flight to my destination. I remember flying to Dubai and I literally felt like I was holding on for dear life.
How do you source data?
The research we do takes a lot of hard graft and patience. Many people aren’t aware that fleets data comes from contributory sources – it’s often involves high amounts of diligence to conduct the most accurate desktop research. We have hundreds of data sources that we use daily, such as registers, spotter forums, and official documents from the registers. Plus, we have established excellent relationships with the OEMs and operators and this also helps us to gain a more frequent data flow from the customers. It helps to have more than one source giving us the information to compare. We try to get in contact with the operator and owner to verify the data – our policy is always to hold off while we verify the data is correct rather than risk populating our datafeed with inaccurate information.
How do you ensure the data is verified and validated?
We have rigorous quality control checks in place which ensures that if there’s any kind of mistake, it’ll be picked up and we aim for zero errors. We also all follow best practice protocols to make sure we haven’t made any incorrect aircraft history lines.
What do you enjoy most about researching aircraft?
When I’ve been researching an aircraft for a long time and I get to the point where I can find a significant point of data it’s so exciting. It gives me a lot of pride in knowing that the data is high quality and is impacting our customers. We’re focused on providing the very best data and insights to help our clients to grow their businesses and impact commercial strategy. For example, when I presented these data points to Airbus Helicopters, it was clear that the audience really did find the information useful.
Cirium’s dedicated online fleets database, Fleets Analyzer, shows that there are 12,083 in-service Airbus Helicopters (16/03/20) operating around the world today. This view provides the aircraft type, serial number, aircraft manufacturer, aircraft master series registration, age, operator, manager and owner plus much more that are easily added using the add/remove column section.
What makes Cirium data the most valuable on the market?
Many people think that all fleets data is pretty much the same but Cirium data goes far deeper and is far more bespoke than our competitors’ data which is ‘off the shelf’. The prices of our portfolio of products in the fleets database reflect the fact that our team are passionate aviation experts and we’re sifting through data by hand. It is the fact that we offer specialist desktop research plus unique insights garnered from our contacts in the aviation industry that makes Cirium data superior.
What makes working at Cirium special?
I started off as an office receptionist, and then worked in office management and facilities for four years. I wanted a bigger challenge and Cirium has supported me with developing my career. I have been given lots of opportunities to navigate my career and encouragement to get to every next level.
The passion within the data team was infectious and I made the jump into the data research team focusing on the interiors market. After a year, I moved into Helicopters where I’ve been for the past two and a half years.
In addition to the great work culture and the helpful way they support personal career progression, it’s also fantastic that Cirium encourages employees to work with charities. For my team’s next charity day, we’ll be helping on a farm that’s entirely dependent on public donations to keep it running. Last year, the team spent the day working at a food bank. It makes you realise how fortunate you are, but it allows you to have a sense that you’ve helped out.
For further details of Cirium’s fleets database, or to arrange a free trial, contact us and one of our experts will be in touch.
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