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MIT's Global Airline Industry Program launches Airline Data Project

New web site compiles key airline data

MIT's Global Airline Industry Program and the International Center for Air Transportation launched the Airline Data Project (ADP) Oct. 1 featuring an online databank that provides a comprehensive collection and analysis of airline data since 1995.

The ADP's online databank,, gives comparisons of the largest U.S. carriers on scores of different cost, revenue and productivity measures. The resource will let users compare 15 U.S. airlines on a wide variety of measures, including fleet utilization, labor costs, cash flow and profitability.

The project allows researchers to confirm--and in some cases dispel--conventional wisdom about the airline industry by presenting information within a historical landscape.

"The Airline Data Project will serve as an excellent data source for research and analysis not only for MIT students and faculty, but for airline executives, analysts, labor leaders and industry observers," said Peter P. Belobaba, program manager for the Global Airline Industry Program. "It is a natural extension of our ongoing work and supports our goal of developing a body of knowledge for understanding the development, growth and competitive factors that affect this industry."

The ADP was created in conjunction with the MIT Airline Industry Consortium, and with support from the Industry Studies Program of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. All of the data on the site is based on company filings with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"The airline industry is at its most critical crossroads since deregulation, and the information on this site tells hundreds of different stories that will bear that out," said ADP developer and manager William Swelbar, a research engineer at MIT and one of the aviation industry's most highly regarded economic analysts.

"Restructuring in the airline industry is not complete, despite extraordinary changes over the past six years," Swelbar said. "With new competition from foreign carriers through 'open skies' agreements and continued prospects for mergers and consolidation, the coming years could bring even more change."

Data on the ADP web site will be updated regularly with additional charts and analysis available.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 3, 2007 (download PDF).

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