Posted on: 03 April 2018
Big data is key
With an extensive background in the aviation industry and a particular focus on network planning and revenue management, Christophe Ritter, co-founder of Milanamos, reveals why small airports need big data to attract low-fare carriers.
When did you launch Milanamos and what was the drive behind it?
Christophe Imbert and I launched Milanamos in 2013, with the objective of providing airlines and airports with an integrated end-to-end route development solution on a multi-modal level. We now have a team of 10 data analysts and developers serving 45 international customers on four continents.
Our customers include airports, regional and low-fare carriers, and consulting companies for whom Milanamos provides a cost-effective, flexible market-intelligence solution.
How does your product work?
We developed PlanetOptim in response to market demand for a user-friendly data analysis system that provides airlines and airports with a detailed business case for route development and network planning opportunities. We provide the complete package, from gathering preliminary market data, to estimating future demand and building a detailed profit and loss statement for that route.
How is your product scalable for smaller airports serving regional and low-fare air traffic?
Our solution is fully scalable. We partner with airports of all sizes, from primary airports, such as Hamburg, Manila and Paris, to low-cost airports, including Bergamo and Beauvais, as well as regional airports. Perpignan, for example, started out as a small regional airport in the South of France with all its traffic flying to Girona and Barcelona. But by using our predictive analytics platform, the airport has seen significant growth in route development. Ryanair has introduced five new routes and additional links are now served by Iberia and other regional carriers.
How has big data changed the dynamic of the relationship between low-fare and regional carriers and regional airports?
It has really put regional airports in the driver’s seat, as they can now leverage much more information than previously, which makes them much more attractive partners for low-fare carriers and regional airlines. For example, we can provide our clients with detailed information about the airport’s catchment area by integrating all web searches from the airport and local tourism authority. Similarly, we analyse telecom data and by cross referencing these different sources, we can provide our customers with a reasonable estimate of the traffic potential. For regional carriers or LCCs, which tend to operate on low profit margins, that sort of data is invaluable.
Why is historical data not sufficient for airports to build a competitive market analysis?
By 2035, air traffic is expected to double according to IATA. Most of this traffic is in markets that did not exist before. Take the UK for example – before the low-cost revolution, Liverpool airport had almost no commercial services due to its proximity to Manchester. Today, it caters for 5 million passengers annually and plans to have 7.8 million passengers by 2030. So, if you only base your analysis on historical demand, you will always underestimate the market potential.
What is the best way to increase an airport’s catchment area?
Facilitating multi-modal transportation. I am still surprised to see that sometimes when you land at an airport there is no bus service, or the last one left 10 minutes prior to you landing. The co-ordination of different modes of transport provides a direct benefit for passengers.
Your company has been recognised among the top 110 companies by the World Innovation Challenge for its vision of transportation in 2030. Can you expand on this vision?
It was a huge achievement to be recognised by international experts less than one year after starting up. Our vision from the outset was to provide the transport sector with the first ‘big data’ solution. We wanted to deliver multiple data sources and provide a comprehensive methodology to support the growth of the aviation industry, which includes airports, airlines, and aircraft manufacturers.
What are the next steps for Milanamos?
In parallel to the continuous enhancement of our existing solution, we are also working on building our multi-modal fulfilment platform with optimum connections between transport operators. It’s the equivalent of a clearing-house system, with the ability to offer the sale of end-to-end services, including air-rail or air-bus tickets.