Methodology of the Indicator System on Global Air Transport Development

The current indicator scheme represents one of the three pillars of the monitoring system on global air transport development. Within this context, the indicator approach aims at contributing to the following objectives:

  • delivering a description and (where possible) evaluation of the air transport development with regard to system internal aspects and economic, ecological and social interchanges,
  • offering a fast and precise overview of complex developments,
  • allowing a comparison of changes and developments over time and between different indicators.

By addressing the complexity of developments at the same time, the indicators are in this context understood as a measure which consists of two or more separate figures. Thus, an indicator regards several developments in relation to each other and investigates the significance of these developments for the overall condition of the air transport system at any regarded point of time.

Structure and main characteristics of the preliminary MONITOR indicator scheme

For this purpose a further differentiation between Performance Indicators (PIs) and Sustainable Development Indicators (SDIs) was made in the MONITOR project according to the following definition and research horizon of these two indicator categories.

  • Performance Indicators describe the development of the main internal measures of the air transport system (system internal point of view).
  • Sustainable Development Indicators describe the development of the interrelation of the air transport system with the three dimensions of sustainability, i.e. the economic, the ecological and the social development (point of view: interchanges between air transport and its surroundings).

In order to evaluate the development of the air transport system and important framework developments in this context in an appropriate manner, it was decided to look at the PI and SDI categories with a long-term view (> 10 years) on past developments. This extended time horizon permits an identification of general trends and challenges which play an important role for the ongoing evolution of the whole system.

In the first instance, it was furthermore taken care to provide mainly a global perspective on the air transport system with the indicator approach as air transport services have primarily an international focus and are driven by the corresponding framework conditions. However, the preliminary indicator set which was developed during the MONITOR project aimed also at developing a flexible and upgradeable approach. Therefore, it is possible to extend the given indicator set in the future.

Summing up the pictures, the current MONITOR indicator scheme covers with regard to the Performance Indicators (PIs) airports and airlines. An extension in order to describe the development of other actors – e.g. ATM – is possible and planned for the mid-term. The other indicator category of the scheme is currently concentrating on Sustainable Development Indicators (SDIs), characterised by the three pillars of Economy, Ecology and Social issues. For these indicators an extension with regard to their coverage is also planned. Taking the message of the graph above into account, two other extension possibilities for the MONITOR indicator scheme are also thinkable and intended for the mid-term: (1) an extension with regard to the geographic level tracing back from the current global scheme to an EU, national and regional (airport) level and (2) a temporal extension with indicators describing the possible future development in addition to the current description of the past.

All in all, there are finally four extension possibilities with regard to the further development of the current indicator scheme thinkable:

  1. Extension of content
  2. Extension of the geographical scope
  3. Extension of the temporal scope
  4. Extension of the function, which means coming from a now rather descriptive function of the indicators to a stronger evaluating approach by linking the indicators to concrete political objectives e.g. in the field of sustainability.

Further information on the whole indicator topic, the creation process and the methodology used within the context of the MONITOR project can also be found in the Technical Note on the Indicator Creation Process.

The current MONITOR indicator set including nine indicator information sheets with more than 40 indicators is available here.

In order to develop the MONITOR Database further, we appreciate your feedback. If you are disposed to give inputs for the MONITOR Database or have suggestions for improvements, please feel free to contact us.