The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that insights from enhancing the analytical capabilities of the IATA Global Aviation Data Management (GADM) program are powering informed decisions to improve safety, operational efficiency and sustainability. The new capabilities take advantage of advancements in big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
GADM’s data comes from several sources, including the Incident Data Exchange (IDX) and the Flight Data eXchange (FDX) programs. The latter now comprises data from 15 million flights performed by 7,500 aircraft. The FDX data captured from each flight monitors hundreds of parameters per second, making GADM the most comprehensive collection of global aviation operational data in the world. Currently 198 airlines contribute data to GADM, and IATA says this database will grow daily as additional data is collected.
“Individual users will be able to better compare their performance to industry benchmarks when making critical business decisions. And, at the industry level, we have been able to more precisely pinpoint operational trends as well as emerging challenges and opportunities,” said Nick Careen, IATA senior vice president, operations, safety and security.
GADM enables the identification of emerging safety risks. Through extensive aggregation of the program’s data, IATA can identify emerging safety trends, whether at specific airports, regions or for certain types of operations. Such analysis will be especially beneficial for airlines exploring new destinations, and for regulators formulating aviation safety strategies. Using GADM data, IATA recently identified GPS signal loss in specific geographies as an emerging safety risk, for example.
The program can also aid in fuel efficiency planning. Fuel currently represents nearly a third of the operational expense of an airline. Since 2005, IATA has worked with airlines to find fuel-saving opportunities and identified average potential fuel savings of 4.4% across flight dispatch, ground operations and flight operations. Moving forward, IATA will use GADM operational data to enhance the analysis carried out by its fuel experts and provide industry benchmarks related to fuel efficiency.
IATA says that analyzing GADM data is also leading to more granular measurement of aircraft fuel burn and, consequently, tracking of CO2 emissions. With analysis of hundreds of data parameters at every second of flight, it is also possible to identify the precise impact of fuel-saving operational measures. All of these will help the industry as it moves toward net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Predictive analytics in aircraft performance, particularly in fuel consumption, are essential for strategic decisions. IATA’s advanced deep learning models offer high-accuracy predictions, helping inform decisions on aircraft purchases and strategic network planning.
On the operational side, data from IATA’s global safety audit programs are included in GADM along with FDX and IDX data and more. IATA upholds strict data governance rules agreed with the airlines.
“Data is at the center of more and more of IATA’s activities as the global trade association for airlines. It’s not about storing it for posterity, but rather using data to provide better analysis and, more importantly, solutions to industry issues. Data analysis is a part of our core business and a great opportunity to make aviation stronger,” said Kim Macaulay, IATA chief information and data officer.
To support its increased focus on data, IATA is staffing up a newly established division responsible for data management, strengthening the GADM team and expanding its team of data scientists. The aim is to improve the analytics capabilities offered by IATA to help airlines in their decision-making processes. IATA Consulting has also geared up to help clients achieve their business goals using GADM and other IATA data collections and expertise.
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