A data marketplace is practically a multi-sided platform, where a digital intermediary connects data providers, data purchasers, and other complementary technology providers (HBR 2006). The current data marketplace landscape includes generic purpose platforms provided by large cloud computing companies (e.g. Microsoft Azure and Amazon), open data platforms with market features and vertical marketplaces, targeted to specific types of data or domains of application. Data abundance and integration with cloud-based data analysis and visualisation solutions have bolstered such marketplaces as data sharing enablers across a variety of domains and applications. What is the current status of data marketplaces in aviation?
Aviation Data Sharing Landscape
Traditionally, data sharing systems in aviation belong to three main types, depending on the time the sharing is realised compared to when the event actually took place and the level of processing of the data being shared have undergone, i.e. whether the data are (almost) raw or whether data have been processed and what is shared is the result of the analysis: (a) near-real time event sharing systems, (b) periodic aggregation and analysis systems and (c) lessons learned and corrective action systems.
Data Sharing Programs and Initiatives
Data sharing is actually not a new concept for the aviation industry. GAIN, the Global Aviation Information Network, aiming to promote and facilitate the voluntary collection and sharing of safety information by and among users in the international aviation community to improve safety (GAIN 2003), was proposed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 1996. Since then, numerous multi-airline and multi-national data sharing programs and initiatives which involve centralising airline flight data storage have been established, such as:
- FDX : Flight Data eXchange (FDX) is an aggregated de-identified database of FDA/ FOQA type events that allows to identify commercial flight safety issues for a wide variety of safety topics. It covers many types of aircraft, across a global database and enables flight operations and safety departments to proactively identify safety hazards. FDX has data from more than 100 airports, which makes up about 500 runways, thus allowing operators to accomplish over 50 different types of runway specific safety analysis and hazard identification utilising industry data, fine tuning their own operations to minimise risk.
- ASIAS ,: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the aviation industry developed the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) program to promote an open exchange of safety information. ASIAS incorporates voluntarily provided safety data from operators that represent 99 percent of U.S. air carrier operations in the National Airspace System (NAS). The ASIAS stakeholders currently include, 45 commercial air carriers, 83 general aviation operators and many other from Industry and Government.
- GADM , : GADM is the IATA Global Aviation Data Management programme and platform. Over 90% of IATA member carriers have agreed to participate in this programme which currently receives data from more than 470 organisations. The participation in the programme allows data providers to access aggregated and de-identified reports on safety metrics and trends, including analyses on accidents and incidents, operational reports and ground damage reports. The IATA Ground Damage Database (GDDB) is a key initiative supporting the IATA Global Ground Operations activities.
- STEADES : STEADESTM is IATA’s aviation safety incident data management and analysis program and one of the data sources of the Global Aviation Data Management (GADM). With over 200 members, the STEADES database of de-identified airline incident reports is the world’s largest database, offering a secure environment for airlines to pool safety information for global benchmarking and analysis needs.
- Skybrary : SKYbrary is an electronic repository of safety knowledge related to flight operations, air traffic management (ATM) and aviation safety in general. It also is a portal that enables users to access the safety data made available on the websites of a variety of aviation organisations. SKYbrary was initiated by EUROCONTROL in partnership with the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Flight Safety Foundation, the U.K. Flight Safety Committee and the European Strategic Safety Initiative.
- Data4Safety : Data4Safety (also known as D4S) is a data collection and analysis programme that aims to support the goal to ensure the highest common level of safety and environmental protection for the European aviation system. The programme aims to collect all data that can help the management of safety risks at European level, including safety reports (or occurrences), flight data (i.e. data generated by the aircraft via the Flight Data Recorders), surveillance data (air traffic data), weather data – but those are only a few from a much longer list.
- A-CDM ,: The European Airport Collaborative Decision Making, also known as A-CDM, was based on the American concept of Collaborative Decision Making that was introduced in January 1998 to cope with heavy capacity reductions due mainly to en route or airport bad weather conditions. Delays during ground delay programs were reduced by 15 percent during the experimental period. In early 2000, trials were conducted at several major European airports to study and develop a CDM concept for Europe. The decision making by the A-CDM Partners is facilitated by the sharing of accurate and timely information and by adapted procedures, mechanisms and tools. The main A-CDM Partners are the Airport Operator, Aircraft Operators, Ground Handlers, De-icing companies, the Air Navigation Service Provider (ATC), the Network Manager and support services (Police, Customs and Immigration etc).
- SkyFusion : SkyFusion is an outcome of the strategic partnership between IATA and HARRIS. It was developed to help core ATM stakeholders, namely airlines, ANSPs and airports, to easily overcome the limitations of today’s systems and effectively meet the challenges ahead by providing them with the ability to connect, communicate, share data, and make collaborative decisions in real-time.
- Skywise : Skywise is a data platform, launched by Airbus in 2017 in collaboration with Palantrir Technologies, is another larger-scale initiative towards improved data sharing and it aspires to become the reference platform for core aviation stakeholders to improve their operational performance.
Finally, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced in 2014 an agreement on sharing of safety information and joint analysis of safety trends . These analyses primarily will be based on the information derived from the Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) program, and the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). IATA is also developing an ACID (Air Cargo Incident Database ), as part of StB Cargo  program. This database of de-identified airline incident reports will offer a secure environment for airlines and ground handlers to pool their safety and operations information, supporting a proactive data-driven approach for advanced trend analysis, predictive risk mitigation and improvement programs.
The Potential for Aviation
The primary goal of such initiatives is to ensure safety in the air travel, which in turn requires the optimisation of a wide range of operations, e.g. the way Airline Operations Centres build schedules, plan flight routings and fuel uplift and ensuring passenger connections, the way ANSPs organise and manage the airspace over a country with Air Traffic Services, the way Military Operations Centres plan their missions, block airspace to conduct training operations and fulfil national security tasks. Information to be shared in these scenarios includes aeronautical data, flight trajectories, aerodrome operations, historical and current meteorological data, air traffic flow information, surveillance data (from radar, satellite navigation systems, aircraft datalinks, etc.), capacity and demand data (actual and foreseen).
Τhe advantages of data sharing in the aviation industry are numerous and multi-facetted and bolster the development of further larger-scale collaborations as acknowledged by IATA, Eurocontrol, and other core stakeholders.
In this context, ICARUS aims to further promote the data sharing mentality in aviation and expand it to embrace extra-aviation stakeholders (from domains like health, tourism, government, security, etc.) in order to trade and / or share the aviation data in a trustuful and reliable manner with the help of immutable data contracts. For more details for our work in ICARUS please refer to the ICARUS Deliverables D2.2 and D2.3, as well as our previous blog post article on Aviation Data Sharing and Brokerage in ICARUS.
Blog post prepared by Suite5