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Being An Airline Analyst  
User currently offlineCHRISBA777ER From UK - England, joined Mar 2001, 5964 posts, RR: 62
Posted (7 years 6 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3999 times:

Hi all,

I brought this up on another thread and it got me thinking - do we have any other analysts here?

A couple of people have asked me about being an airline analyst, and so I thought I'd share with you what my job involves.

I work for a very large business information company that provides credit/status checks on shipping companies, airlines, logistics companies, port agents, container lessors etc. I run the aviation side of things, and we have four of the top five jet A suppliers as our clients, but we also have airports, paints suppliers, lessors, and even competitors in our client base. They come to us for a detailed credit opinion of the subject company, and typically our report would be in excess of 8,000 words or so. We do a detailed analysis of the company existing operations, (business model, strategy, fleet, network, commonality, alliances etc) a risk analysis, future industry trends relevant to the company, and an outline of what we think, in basic terms, their immediate-term outlook is, and what signs of a medium-term strategy we can see taking shape.

We contact the company, look at their ownership and share structure, share price if applicable, and analyse to what extent the company’s backers can offer support. We get access to their financials and we do a very detailed breakdown of their accounts, looking at liquidity, debt/equity ratios, gearing, and taking apart their debt portfolio. We call a number of key suppliers to the company and get payment/operational references which we tie in to the liquidity analysis if need be.

Lastly, we formate a credit rating like the big ratings agencies such as Standard & Poor’s, but we add an opinion, citing to what extent the company should be able to support unsecured credit and to what level, whether payment issues are to be expected, and whether a guarantee of any kind is to be sought.

This format applies to shipping companies as well, and I also manage the container, logistics, ro-ro, PCC/PCTC, ferry, and cruise sectors, with a small team working under my management. We undertake more detailed research/investigation on demand.

Please feel free to ask me any further questions should you need more information, or you can email me if you want to keep it off the board.


What do you mean you dont have any bourbon? Do you know how far it is to Houston? What kind of airline is this???
19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCornish From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 8187 posts, RR: 54
Reply 1, posted (7 years 6 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3809 times:

Well Chris, as you know you can add me to the list  

However I've moved on from being a pure airline analyst (with IATA for a number of years) into the dynamic world of consultancy. Now my job is much more exciting and varied to be honest.

I cover a range of different roles depending on the particular project I am working on and the client i am working with at the time. My primary role is working in the area of traffic forecasting and route evaluation exercises. However these days my work tends to be more on the airport side of things such as producing the 25 year traffic forecasts in the Masterplan of some major airport development projects around the world at present.

I do a lot of due diligence work for banks and private sector funding - particularly in the area of traffic and financial forecasts within business plans - both for airlines and airports.

I'm getting more and more in governmental regulatory and strategy work - which i'm really enjoying, especially having been a Politics graduate.

I have been and am currently working on a number of projects which get discussed here on A.net. By and large I keep out of those discussions for professional reasons - apart from minor non-confidential issues, that I feel i can happily discuss. Even then it still amazes me how many people who've never done any detailed research or spoken with the airlines, airports and governments in question seem to know better.....

[Edited 2007-03-21 17:26:35]


Just when I thought I could see light at the end of the tunnel, it was some B*****d with a torch bringing me more work
User currently offlineAH332 From Algeria, joined Mar 2007, 276 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 6 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3700 times:

Hi,

I'm currently in college, and pusuing a finance degree (I'm still a freshman). That's what I want to do as a career, be an airline analyst, though more like Cornish's job description (route planning, fleet decisions, working with airports). My question is how did you guys get your positions and what steps did you take to get the job (education, network etc.)?

Cheers,
Imad



Bledi Heya Al Djazaeer! // Next Flights: AB MIA-DUS-ORY, AF ORY-MRS-ALG
User currently offline9252fly From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1392 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 6 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 3548 times:

Just when I thought everyone on A.net was an airline analyst!

User currently offlineStratofortress From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 178 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (7 years 6 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3494 times:

How is the money in the consultancy versus analyst role?


Forever New Frontiers
User currently offlineCornish From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 8187 posts, RR: 54
Reply 5, posted (7 years 6 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3389 times:

Quoting AH332 (Reply 2):
My question is how did you guys get your positions and what steps did you take to get the job (education, network etc.)?

Well I didn't exactly take the obvious path to get there. My undergraduate and post graduate degrees are in Politics - my MA more specifically in European Politics. My MA thesis looked at Competition Policy and the deregulation of the avation sector in the EU - this was back in the Mid-90s bear in mind - the topic has been done to death since.

Then it was a question of applying for jobs - all sorts, not just aviation and one came up for a junior analyst role in IATA. Somehow the interviewers liked what they saw and I got the job. From there i showed an ability to them and worked my way up the ladder to senior analyst and involved in forecasting.

I then applied for a Consultancy job and was lucky enough to get it. I worked for nealry two years in the first consultancy, but moved to a much bigger and better company about a year and a half ago. I haven't regretted it for a second. Fantastic fascinating projects around the world and a great team of people to work with - also a boss i get on very well with who is well known in the industry, seen and done it all and is teaching me so much. In my mid-30s I am still considered young in aviation consultancy terms.

A more obvious path into related jobs would be to study on a more specific degree course such as Air Transport Management and so on. There are universities that provide such courses - in the UK, look to places such as Cranfield and Westminster for example - and that is where we tend to look for our junior analyst/graduates from.

Quoting Stratofortress (Reply 4):
How is the money in the consultancy versus analyst role?

Depends on the companies of course, but by and large consultancy pays a LOT more than analyst positions. When i moved from my Senior Analyst role into a Consultancy, my salary jumped by over 50%.

Analysts are often seen as researchers, where consultants tend to be seen more as business advisors and providing direct views and advice that actually impact the business. Analysts often do the behind the scenes research work that the consultants use more directly when dealing with the clients. I still love doing analytical work, but as I'm moving upwards i have to accept that for the profitability of projects I often have to get cheaper staff to do a lot of the work I always enjoyed and i now have to concentrate on the higher end side of things and the more detailed report writing.



Just when I thought I could see light at the end of the tunnel, it was some B*****d with a torch bringing me more work
User currently offlineWDBRR From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 610 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 6 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 3335 times:

Quoting 9252fly (Reply 3):
Just when I thought everyone on A.net was an airline analyst!

I laughed.....I thought the same thing..


User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (7 years 6 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 3312 times:

Quoting Cornish (Reply 5):
Analysts are often seen as researchers, where consultants tend to be seen more as business advisors

Or as is sometimes rather aptly put -- "an analyst is allowed to look something up if he doesn't know the answer while a consultant has to pull a convincing answer out of his arse".  Smile


User currently offlineCornish From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 8187 posts, RR: 54
Reply 8, posted (7 years 6 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 3264 times:

Quoting B747-437B (Reply 7):
Or as is sometimes rather aptly put -- "an analyst is allowed to look something up if he doesn't know the answer while a consultant has to pull a convincing answer out of his arse".

 rotfl  Never a truer word said Big grin



Just when I thought I could see light at the end of the tunnel, it was some B*****d with a torch bringing me more work
User currently offlineAither From South Korea, joined Oct 2004, 858 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 6 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3075 times:

Hello,

I'm a market analyst as well, mostly doing market research behind the scene.

I'd love to talk to other analysts or market researchers, share our point of views etc. however for professional reasons you can't say much. Like Cornish, I have to keep out of many discussions here. This is really too bad because I am studying very specific subjects very few are studying in the world. This is big frustration for me not to share the results of my studies.

Rgds



Never trust the obvious
User currently offlineEXAAUADL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 6 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3068 times:

Do you mean airline anaylst as in route planner/ revenue management and finace or an airline analyst for one of the investment banks?

User currently offlineJacobin777 From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 14968 posts, RR: 59
Reply 11, posted (7 years 6 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3041 times:

I'm just an average person who loves aviation. Smile


"Up the Irons!"
User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (7 years 6 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3004 times:

Quoting Aither (Reply 9):
I have to keep out of many discussions here

Thats the irony of airliners.net isnt it?

Those who know, can't say. And those who say, don't know.


User currently offlineUSXguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1017 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (7 years 6 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2991 times:

I think that what people fail to understand is that an analyst job isn't always fun. You really have to be an airline geek to enjoy doing some of this stuff. There were many days at work that it just never seemed to end. From a Planning perspective, there's a lot of data you have to farm out, then run it thru a few different excel spreadsheets / formulas, then take that data and throw it in other spreadsheets. And at some point you'll end up with a booking curve, that only a few people know how to read! I also spent countless manual hours working on a variety of other spreadsheets outlining performance, booking history, frequent flyer useage/redemption/frequency, mined a lot of data out of Sabre, etc. And if this is something you like, then there are a handful of airlines that are hiring for Financial Analyst, some may even have Planning positions open, but those are like finding a needle in a haystack. Alliances Departments are also very "hands on" with the entire airline operation, but you'll spend more time in an excel spreadsheet than you will at "Star Alliance" type meetings & conference calls, for instance.

Also when you work in the Planning department, you deal with the consultants and airports who believe some of the information that was "yanked out of their ass" who feel strongly that something will work --- and you, being the airline, has the historical data from 20 years ago when it didn't work either! So its always fun to look at someone else's data and compare it to yours and see how far you are off.

Regardless, I'm not longer an analyst, I've graduated to something much better (although I'm wondering if I should have stayed)... but when I was an analyst, I worked for an airline that allowed me to do other things to keep me busy and I do miss it --- I got involved in Sabre training, the GDS contracts, and Sales --- I have to say the Sales part was the most fun!



xx
User currently offlineAirlineEcon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 130 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (7 years 6 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2982 times:

Its interesting for me to hear the detailed work that airline analysts do. I am an academic economist, (well I'll be one very soon), in the empirical industrial organization field. Currently I do not have a research project related to the airline industry, but I hope to find one soon. On the side, I am an aviation theorist and love to follow the economics of the industry.

I imagine the perspective of academic economists is quite different from that of analyst in the field. If other A.netters are interested I could share some of the work that we do on airline economist. The papers are pretty teched up with fancy economics and statistics, but basic ideas are quite accessible to a general audience. Just to list a few there are some well regarded papers.

A Dynamic Analysis of the Market for Wide-Bodied Commercial Aircraft: studies the L1011 with the key result that airframe makers price aircraft below cost to sell a lot of planes and gain production experience which lowers the cost of making planes at later date.

How to incumbents respond to the threat of entry? Evidence from the major airlines: particularly it shows that incumbent slash fares when there is a threat that an airline (say Southwest) could enter in the future. As soon as southwest enters Denver then AA might cut fares from STL to DEN since the threat of southwest entering that market becomes higher.

There are lots more about deregulation, hub and spoke, network affects. Airframe investment.


User currently offlineAither From South Korea, joined Oct 2004, 858 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (7 years 6 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2918 times:

As USXguy mentioned you can spend weeks working on Excel spreadsheets only. It can be very exhausting and also frustrating when you see others doing meetings etc. and being paid more than you are, and having all the credits because they are the ones performing the final presentation.

By chance i like playing with numbers, it's like playing Sudoku the whole day !
Database hide key information you have to identify, evaluate, see how it interacts with other information etc. quite fascinating.

A very important aspect of the job is also to be able to create his own tools. That means to have some software programing knowledge (often in Excel or Access, sometime more professional software). This is very important.

On a side note it is difficult to work with consultants, marketing guys or top management : for them things have to be "black or white" but reality is often grey... yet you have to provide materials they can use.

[Edited 2007-03-24 01:40:39]


Never trust the obvious
User currently offlinePacifica From Canada, joined May 2006, 149 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (7 years 6 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2891 times:

Cornish,

Could you go into a little more detail about what it's like to be an aviation consultant?

Consulting is easily something that both interests me, and I could realistically see myself doing as a career. And what better type than aviation consulting?  Smile But honestly, if you could get into more detail of maybe just your average day, etc (I know you can't reveal the 'true' details), that'd be great as I'm seriously considering going into a field like this and I'd be happy to know more about it. Also I was wondering, what major consulting firms are there that deal with aviation?


User currently offlineCornish From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 8187 posts, RR: 54
Reply 17, posted (7 years 6 months 19 hours ago) and read 2714 times:

Quoting Pacifica (Reply 16):
if you could get into more detail of maybe just your average day, etc (I know you can't reveal the 'true' details), that'd be great

Well as I'm waiting for someone to call me back, and I'm drinking my cuppa I'll give you a quick run down on today (as even when I'm busy I lack the discipline to drag myself completely off here....  Wink ).

Today I've already been phoning my ex-employers due to needing reference letters from regarding a bid we made for a project in a developing nation advising on how to improve the country's Civil Aviation sector. (for this particular job they are requesting proof of employment for every former employer on our CVs).

In a while I'll get back to some work we are doing for a LCC business plan for a client.

This afternoon I'll have a long conference call regarding a bid we have submitted for a project that would be masterplanning for a number of airports in a country. My role would be on the forecasting side of things.

And then last thing today will see another conference call with a bank regarding their investment in a European airport. We are acting as advisors to the bank.

In between all that I'm doing some work on a UK airport as and when i can fit it in, and some advisory work for a Far Eastern governemnt on best practice in the area of civil aviation regulation.

Consultancy work is never ever the same - last month my list of projects were very different. It also means that some days are quiet and i catch up on all my admin - but by and large we are doing well enough as a company to keep my workload nice and full right through the year  Smile

I wish i could be more specific, but of course I can't - especially with bids.

Hope that gives you an idea though Pacifica.



Just when I thought I could see light at the end of the tunnel, it was some B*****d with a torch bringing me more work
User currently offlinePacifica From Canada, joined May 2006, 149 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (7 years 6 months 4 hours ago) and read 2542 times:

Thanks! I know it's hard to give details with all the confidentiality agreements, but that was a pretty good breakdown of the different things one would do as a consultant.  Smile I'm still considering what to go into as a career, but this is definitely one of the possibilities (though, does anybody know any good schools in Canada for a degree in Air Transport Management or the like?)

User currently offlineEmirates029 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2007, 179 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (7 years 6 months 3 hours ago) and read 2493 times:

I'd definitely be interested in a career path like airline/aviation consultancy or analyst. Do you guys have any tips or suggestions? Do employers prefer hiring people with a certain degree, or from a certain uni, or anything like that?

[Edited 2007-03-27 03:54:48]

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