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Managing a Loophole with Analytics Creates Operational Efficiencies for this Client

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Client Profile & Challenge

Our client is a $1B domestic regional airline partner for United, AA, and Delta.


Airline pilots are contractually allowed to trade flight legs of their scheduled flight hours (“Trip Trades”). The intent of this design is a net-neutral monetary impact to the airline, however, management was concerned this was creating an unintended consequence – a loophole that, when exploited, enabled some pilots to pick up an unbalanced number of flight hours and others to create inequitable schedules and flight destinations. The airline could not determine whether Trip Trades were neutral contractually, or they were losing net pilot flight hours and efficiency based on Trip Trade practices.  Without the data, they were unable to analyze and determine the answer.

Solution Overview

Messina Group’s Analytics practice integrated three disparate data sources, built models and visualizations for business users to understand the true dollar impact to the business based on its practices, and discovered ways to gain multi seven-figure dollar efficiencies by bringing data-driven decision making to the Trip Trade policy.


Strategic Advisory, Advanced Analytics, Data Integration, KPI identification, Data Visualization Dashboards, Robotic Process Automation

Technology Used:

Microsoft SQL Server and Power BI


Fueled by the consolidated data and the right metrics, The Trip Trade dashboards we created enabled this airline to determine the net loss of pilot scheduled hours. The solution armed the scheduling group with the data and trends it needed to be more judicious in the approval of Trip Trades in bases that were problematic. The data-driven, analytical approach to Trip Trades brought clarity and efficiency to what had largely been a gut instinct and personal experience process. We identified problem areas and trends and identified a potential of $3M of pilot capacity savings by identifying misuse, uninformed approvals, and better contract negotiation with the union.

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