Total air traffic is predicted to drop more than 50% in 2020. Adding to the enormous pressure on the industry is the uncertainty of the restart. Quarantines are coming and going, demand and consumer confidence are similarly experiencing peaks and troughs, and airlines must juggle fleets, staff, and a swathe of new regulations.

Making headway against this storm is extremely difficult. Obtaining and analyzing data offers insight into the best way forward.

“In times of a pandemic, a total view of airline sales is of particular importance as market recovery trends show domestic markets are the first to restart and direct distribution channels are very popular for domestic travel,” says Jean Ruiz Carpio, IATA’s Head, Industry Data Management. “Real insights are key for sound airline corporate decision making.”

Of course, data has long been crucial to airline decision making. IATA’s Direct Data Solutions (DDS) includes passenger tickets issued via travel agents as well as directly through airline websites, a unique feature that provides a comprehensive view of airline markets.

DDS gives participants a single global data set aggregated from multiple sources, including ARC's Area Settlement Plan (ASP) transactions, IATA's available Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) transactions, and contributed data from airlines.

Many airlines have already joined DDS and can therefore benefit from a robust global data set. The more airlines that join DDS, the richer the data gets.

“As more and more airlines join, we will be able to better serve our customers,” confirms Jarrett Vaucher, Manager, Commercial Analytics and Intelligence, COPA Airlines.

When airlines make use of such global and comprehensive data, it enables each carrier to understand market needs and make better use of its assets to increase efficiency.

Acquiring as much information as possible before making decisions about where, when, and how to fly need to be rooted in fact. It is the only way to ensure sustainable, affordable air travel for all. Being data-rich means being proactive and real-time acquisition of data maintains the flexibility required to deal with an evolving market.

And though this data is obviously critically important for airlines, it is also widely used by other stakeholders, such as government, consultants, and business analysts to help decision-makers understand trends and prepare accordingly.

“DDS is a great example of industry collaboration and value creation and will help inform future data sharing programs,” concludes Jesus Rubio, IATA’s Director of Data and Digital Content.

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