FlightAware offers access to historical flight data records
Flight tracking provider FlightAware has made its full data set available to customers who can use the company’s new AeroAPI application programming interface (API) to view the data. While FlightAware (Booth 3631) has provided some of this information in the past, such access required the assistance of a FlightAware analyst.
“What we have here is an unprecedented data set for understanding what has happened, is happening and will happen,” said Matt Davis, FlightAware’s Chief Commercial Officer. “It’s like a time portal.”
The FlightAware dataset includes more than 713 million flights recorded since the company was founded in 2011, and it’s growing by more than 142,000 flights per day, according to Davis. Collins Aerospace acquired FlightAware in late 2021.
Airlines, business aircraft operators, FBOs, aircraft manufacturers and individuals use FlightAware to track flights, including pushback, departure, landing and gate arrival times, as well as in-flight events such as holds. This provides users with detailed information about the flights they are tracking and the ability to predict with high accuracy where and when the aircraft will arrive. “It’s based on machine learning,” he said, “and it’s better than the flight control system itself.”
AeroAPI is a query-based API, he explained. “It’s nothing more than saying that we offer you a menu where you can place your order with the waiter, the waiter goes to the kitchen – our database – picks up the thing you’ve ordered, and brings it on a plate with utensils for proper consumption. You ask a question about a flight or a set of flights, a fleet or something that happened at an airport, and the API takes the instruction, goes into the dataset, finds the relevant answer and delivers it to you.”
FlightAware expects that many types of users will find the AeroAPI and the historical data useful, according to Davis. Fleet operators can gain insights to improve efficiency. An aircraft manufacturer can delve into historical data for the planes it built to learn how they are operated, where they fly and how often, which can help with plans for new models.
Looking at the data can show where parts should be placed to keep customers’ planes running. A charter/management company can use the data to find new markets and customers. “There are huge benefits to having access to this data,” he said. “We encourage application developers to use this data.”
An interactive developer page is available to assist customers, including a set of sample apps and services that can be easily customized. Pricing for the data depends on usage, with three subscription levels available. The highest offers access to premium data tiers.
At the launch of AeroAPI, FlightAware is making available up to 10 days of historical data, but that will expand to the full data set within three months.
“Data is an untapped frontier for aviation,” Davis said. “The industry is looking for good ways to unlock new capacity without having to throw labor and people into trouble. They need better information on how to make better decisions, allocate resources more efficiently and do more with less.”