What is important in doing codeshare (1)
Nov 12, 2018
Episode 1: Reference data as backbone
Airlines schedules consist of a collection of flight information – from where to where the flight is flying, which aircraft type is planned, which departure and arrival times are used, etc… And finally, which flight number is assigned with which the passenger can plan his journey. In this process, schedule creators have to use valid airport codes, airline codes and terminal information at airports.
Although most reference data seems to be quite stable in terms of changes (“An airport will usually not change its IATA code or its coordinates”), there are subsets in this data set that are frequently changed, even at short notice. Such data are for example daylight saving time. This situation is getting more complex, if there is a partnership in which one airline prefers to plan in local time but the partner likes to plan in UTC.
Especially in a codeshare agreement, another data set gets really important – Minimum Connecting Times. It is used in codeshare connections, where an incoming flight of an airline is connected to an outgoing flight of the partner. Each airport usually has a default setting for Minimum Connecting Times but airlines can file its own exceptions. It has to be planned that incoming and outgoing flight will be at the same terminal, for example, or that the gates are closely located. Over the years, the data set for Minimum Connection Times for all airports worldwide has been bulged to more than 120,000 entries.
In order to avoid any discrepancies in the planning and scheduling of the own fleet, the resulting schedule should always be based on the correct and up-to-date industry reference data. Even more important in a partnership is that both airlines work with the same reference data – always being updated and correct.
Unfortunately, airlines very often do not pay much attention to such industry reference data. Different update frequencies, manual maintenance or different reference data providers lead to discrepancies in the industry data sets. If two airlines in a codeshare partnership are working with different industry data sets, the schedules of both partners can be defective and not synchronized among each other, resulting in unsuccessful bookings, additional costs or lost revenue.
Ideally, partners in a codeshare agreement use the same, always up-to-date and correct industry reference data.
To be continued soon with Episode 2: Schedule data delivery...