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How will UK air travel bounce back from a Global Pandemic?

5 Aug 2021

The winners of the Visual Analytics Competition explain their process and findings when building an interactive dashboard on the UK air travel industry.

The importance of data visualisation

Data is increasingly becoming a fundamental element in decision making. As the volume and richness available to people and organisations grows exponentially. However, only 39% of organisations successfully turn data-driven insights into a sustained competitive advantage. A component that is often missing is the ability to turn this into a story – the way we communicate key ideas and messages.

The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, making visualisations a fantastic way of presenting insights in a way accessible to audiences – with a wide range of technical abilities.

The Visual Analytics and Storytelling (VA&S) team hosted a visualisation design competition to encourage our colleagues across Capgemini Invent to develop this ability, and to produce informative data visualisations and sharpen their storytelling skills.

About the competition

Four teams entered the competition, and their goal was to explore insights relating to air travel and tourism with a focus on recovery. Each team were provided with the same set of published data, containing air passenger traffic details to and from the UK in the last two years. They could use any visualisation tool in the market to analyse and present their findings in a short presentation to our judging panel.

All teams provided great visual insights and creative storytelling skills based on their two weeks of hard work in the competition. The winning team displayed excellent insights with their approach explained below .

What was the winning team’s design process?

They approached both the analysis and ideation phases in a structured and methodical manner. First the team carried out initial data exploration individually, to understand the dataset and uncover any interesting insights early on. This allowed them to familiarise themselves with the dataset, enabling them to identify a key storyline for their presentation.

Following the initial data exploration, they fleshed out the storyline and developed an interesting hypothesis around different trends between the recovery of domestic and international flights, which were heavily impacted by COVID-19. To confirm this hypothesis, the team then merged additional datasets with their analysis; COVID-19 cases and UK unemployment figures.

Finally, the team agreed to use Qlik Sense as their visualisation tool to bring the storyline to life using effective and interactive visuals.

What were the findings?

The winning dashboard visually presents the UK international and domestic flight data for the last 2 years. Both international and domestic flights experienced a sharp decline and extremely low numbers of air traffic as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The dashboard shows a shutdown of air travel in April to June 2020. In recent months, data implies that the UK travel industry is experiencing an upward trend and has seen the initial signs of recovery of air travel. The number of international flights from the UK is significantly higher than the number of domestic flights, which would not make any direct comparison between the two intuitive. However, their analysis showed that the rate of recovery in the domestic market has outperformed international air travel. This could mean that the recovery of domestic air travel is fuelled by the popularity of the  “staycation” trend, where passengers choose their home countries as their holiday destination.

UK international air travel during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Source: CAA Airport Statistics
Source: CAA Airport Statistics

UK domestic air travel during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Source: CAA Airport Statistics
Source: CAA Airport Statistics

You can use the dashboard to interactively filter through the dataset, and see that the top 3 domestic airports in recent months were Heathrow, Gatwick and Belfast. “Staycations” in the UK may be perceived as safer for travel, and easier. Especially when navigating the continuously evolving travelling requirements in comparison to international destinations. However, air travel may not reach pre-pandemic levels for a while.

UK domestic air travel is recovering at a faster rate than UK international air travel

Source: CAA Airport Statistics
Source: CAA Airport Statistics

The key learnings

The judges were particularly impressed by the interactive elements of the winning team’s dashboard as it “helped to focus on insights and put the data into context”. Building tools to interact with data is an excellent way to empower users, helping them to delve deeper into complex analysis. The winning team also excelled in storytelling, given their “clear story and logical build-up of approach”, which was evident through their thorough analysis and preparation during the design phase.

Throughout this competition, all participants had the opportunity to develop their hands-on visual analytics skills and learn how to tell a clear and insightful data story. These are increasingly important skills in today’s digital world, where there is a growing need to understand and present data effectively to a varied audience.

Please get in touch to learn more about how the Capgemini Analytics & AI  – Visual Analytics & Storytelling team are developing this capability.

Viktoria, Nina, Antonio and Zak were the competition winners

Viktoria Urban (Associate Consultant) Viktoria is an Associate Consultant with prior experience in the finance sector. She is passionate about building analytics tools that bring value and insight to clients.
Nina Petkovski (Associate Consultant) Nina joined the Analytics and AI team in 2020, she is particularly interested in building skills in data visualisation (
Antonio Dos Anjos Neto (Senior Solution Architect) Antonio is a Senior Solution Architect within Capgemini and has extensive experience working with various data analytics tools including QlikSense and Tableau (
Zak Trigg (Consultant) Zak is a Data Visualisation Consultant who helped guide the team through the process as a Visualisation SME (