United Airlines is sharing an award-winning method of visualising safety and performance data with other air carriers to improve the overall safety of the aviation industry.
In 2010, United and Continental Airlines merged, requiring the safety division of United to integrate data from many operating groups and databases. The aim was to improve the safety culture of the major US airline by effectively integrating, mining, and analysing vast volumes of data.
This strategy was also prompted by new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations requiring airlines and airports to implement Safety Management Systems (SMS) that would make data easily accessible for everyone, from front-line workers to top executives.
The resulting Data Visualisation Project (DVP) arose from a partnership between United and the Center for Analytics at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, with methods originally used to detect crime patterns. United approached the Center for Analytics in the belief that a similar approach could also detect patterns in accident data, so that workplace injuries and aircraft damage could be reduced. Since 2014, when data analysis via DVP began, the programme has been adopted by marketing, sales, cargo, airport operations, and even the food services department at United.
Data visualisation allows United to centralise volumes of Big Data in a virtual warehouse. It provides for the aggregation of data to show correlations in interactive dashboards that offer insights for root cause analysis and predictive analytics. The dashboards depict gate performance, capture injury details, and track aircraft damage, allowing United to identify data outliers.
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