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  • Thomas Goyette

The Missing Link in Business Aviation

Updated: May 31, 2018

It’s no secret that the business world that efficiency is key, but in 2015 Aviation Experts reported it cost roughly $25 Billion per year to manage disruptions in flight schedules alone. This figure does not include any delays in service caused by mismanagement within an FBO themselves or loss in funds for services that had failed to be completed on time. This figure represents capital lost simply because Airline Operators and FBO’s lack the tools necessary to properly communicate, especially during high density operations.


The solution? Big Data.


As of 2016, Statista reports that there are just over 5,000 Public, and 14,000 private airports operating in the United States alone. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides service to over 40,000 flights and an estimated 2.5 million passengers per day, a staggering number. Gathering data from this well of information is pivotal to not just understanding how to run an FBO, but understanding why the business runs as it does on any given day.


Though business travelers may only make up about 12% of that population, they can represent up to 75% of an airline’s profits on each flight, showing a strong correlation that it pays to cater to their needs. Understanding how, why, and when these professionals travel will help meet their expectations and build a sense of loyalty as their experience with your FBO becomes the easiest part of their trip.


These are people who travel professionally and do not have the time in their to experience substantial delays. Business professionals who travel for work are focused on an important meeting with another companies top executive that may be scheduled just an hour after landing. Having a clear data set available is invaluable when a new or existing client arrives in order to offer to offer the most streamlined service possible.


Be it seeing what rental car preferences they have, the typical times between arrival to departure, or whether they enjoy a newspaper to read while on the way to their hotel; it is necessary to use the tools in the digital market to cause as little delays as possible, offer discounts when loyalty is recognized, and create a personalized experience.


The Business Side of Aviation


With the National Business Aviation Association suggesting that 97% of FBO’s operate as small to midsize organizations it is no surprise they operate under incredibly thin margins, often using outdated technologies and hiring inexperienced help to cut cost where they can. While some methods, like printing out paper slips or using a whiteboard to plan daily tasks may have worked for generations, it leads to errors that are harmful and costly to the company over time.


The fact is, up to 44% of a major airlines cost come from operating expenses, fuel, maintenance, and their crew. If an FBO is able to cut those cost by several percent points, they will have earned themselves a healthy relationship with a valuable client.


Big Data allows FBO’s to study and plan for the habits of small and large scale clients. The information gathered here assist in the daily operation of the service, which helps avoid service delays, finds the best fuel prices, and helps manage the employee workload. An FBO that is able to run its business without incident is able to handle more clients with the same amount of time and energy.


For FBO’s this means higher profit margins, a more effective workforce, and a higher chance to retain high-end clients. For businesses, this means less stress on the runway, additional time to focus on their own needs, and the potential to save millions on travel cost. Communication between air and ground operations exist today, but it lacks in cohesion and uniformity. A better connected industry will ultimately save billions for both FBO’s and the businesses that utilize their service.