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Number 122 - Passenger Origin-Destination Survey Reporting Requirements

Department of Transportation, Research and Special Programs Administration, Office of Aviation Information Management 
Number 122
Issue Date: 3/22/89
Effective Date: 7/01/89
Part 241, Sec. 19-7

The Office of Aviation Information Management has completed a detailed analysisof the Passenger Origin-Destination Survey (O&D) submissions for the secondquarter of 1988. New edit procedures were employed for the first time in thisanalysis. Some submissions were quite good while others contained some majorflaws that would impact the statistical validity of the data. Several carrierswere contacted about their data and asked to correct internal survey proceduresto prevent the occurrence of similar problems in the future. The results ofthis initiative should be fully reflected in the O&D submitted for the firstquarter of 1989.

The purpose of this Reporting Directive is to provide the industry with uniformreporting guidance for several of the major problem areas discovered by ourspecial analysis. These areas are airport codes, low cost tickets, itineraryinformation, and conjunction tickets. Also, we have included a section on editing. The citations in the following paragraphs refer to Appendix A toSection 241.19-7 of the Department's Economic Regulations (14 CPR 241.19-7),unless otherwise indicated.


The O&D instructions require airport codes to be used to identify passengerorigin, destination, and transfer points.

We found more than an occasional use of city codes in some submissions,especially for those cities with their own three letter code such as NYC forNew York. Section V.D.(2)(a) states that "All entries for points (airportcodes) in an itinerary are to be recorded in three-letter airport codes..."Further, in this same paragraph it states, "However, if a code is obviouslyincorrect, record the correct code. For instance, if a ticket is coded DCA-NYCor Washington/National to New York when the flight stage actuallyoperatedWashington, Dulles [IAD] to Newark (EWR), record the correct airport code[s].When only name spellings of a city appear on the ticket for multi-airportcities (such as Washington, New York, San Francisco. or Los Angeles), recordthe specific three letter airport code." Footnote refers to the OfficialAirline Guide and bracketed-information has been added for clarity.

While it may not be possible in all cases to change the city code to theairport code, such as carriage performed by other carriers, we do expect thatthe use of city codes can be drastically reduced and become the exception in acarrier's submission. Also see Section VII.A. on editing for acceptableairport codes.


Tickets provided by the Air carrier to a revenue passenger at a low cost or atno cost are to be included in the O&D Survey as revenue passenger's tickets.

Section X defines a revenue passenger as "A passenger transported for whichmore than a service charge or nominal remuneration is received by the aircarrier. Passengers travelling for a zero fare, because of the-frequent flyeror mileage programs are considered revenue passengers, since the revenueconsiderations for passenger travel were included in their previously purchasedtickets." Likewise, tickets provided as denied boarding compensation wouldalso be considered revenue passengers under the same theory. Completeinformation should be reported for these revenue passengers, whether or notthey are using standard industry tickets. The dollar-amount-of-fare data mustshow the amount paid in whole dollars for the ticket by the passenger, including amounts such as zero dollars, one dollar or any other amount,Passengers strictly classified as nonrevenue traffic should continue to beexcluded from O&D reports.


The journey of the sampled passenger must be fully described in the O&D reportsfor each reportable coupon, regardless of whether a standard industry ticket orin those few cases a nonstandard ticket (cash register tapes, boarding pass,etc.) was used for the contract of carriage.

Section 241.19-7(c) states that "The data to be reported from selected lifted ticket flight coupons ... shall include the following data elements Point oforigin, carrier on each flight coupon stage. fare-basis code for each flightcoupon stage, points of stopover or connection (interline and intraline), pointof destination, number of passengers, and total dollar value of ticket (fareplus tax)." Appendix V.D.2. which further explains the recording of these dataelements states "The individual data item are to be recorded in the sequenceof occurrence in the itinerary as follows: ..." From these citations it isclear that the purpose of the Survey is to provide complete information aboutthe sampled passengers. Historically this data could be easily taken from thelifted flight coupon of the standard ARC or IATA ticket which containedcomplete information about the passenger's journey. However, with theinnovative marketing and ticketing practices developed during the last fewyears, in many instances the flight coupon has been supplemented or replacedwith boarding passes, vouchers or other pieces of paper, thereby eliminatingthe need for the coupon to contain complete passenger itinerary information.

In these Instances, we concluded from out detailed analysis that the O&Dsubmission contains only the information recorded on the flight coupon, Thismeans that some of the itinerary data is not being reported for these specialoperating ticketing practices.

The integrity of the O&D Survey is important to the regulatory, decision-makingprocess for some of the Department's aviation programs, Carriers must assurethemselves that their data collection procedures include complete informationconcerning the passenger trip from beginning to end, In this context, SectionV.C.(l) permits the use of alternative sampling procedures for carriers withspecial operating characteristics if approved by this Office. Some carriersmay need to update their procedural statement on file with this office tohandle their particular special operating practices.


The decision on whether to sample a conjunction ticket should be determined bythe serial number on the top or first ticket. Do not consider the serialnumber on the second or other conjunction tickets (See V.B.).


From the numerous errors noted in some submissions, it is obvious that somecarriers must strengthen their edit checks to ensure their O&D report iscomplete and accurate.

Section VII.B. states "Each carrier is responsible for developing editprocedures and internal controls over its data entry and processing proceduresso that valid and reliable data are captured in the O&D Survey inputs and areproperly summarized in the outputs. Since the carriers have many differentstatistical systems, it is not practicable for the Department of Transportationto prescribe specific controls in this area, and each carrier is responsiblefor developing the appropriate internal control procedures to edit the O&DSurvey data and ensure the integrity of these data." For instance, acomparison with flight schedules, or operating statistics (service segmentdata) previously reported to DOT in accordance with Section 241.19.6 canprovide bench marks for analysis. Under the O&D sampling methodology, an aircarrier who offers scheduled flights between two airports would be expected to have some O&D passengers traveling between these points, and a carrier reporting on-flight passengers transported between pairs of points in itsservice segment date reports would be expected to have coupon passengers at agenerally comparable rate in its O&D submissions. Comparisons with previousquarters of O&D submissions, airport traffic volumes, or market totals willalso provide information to an air carrier for determining the quality of itsO&D submission. These comparisons can reveal inadvertent errors before thereport is submitted, and will help avoid the need for DOT to require correctionand resubmission of the data at a later date.

Beginning with O&D submissions for the first quarter of 1989, carriers will befurnished quarterly printouts showing problems detected by DOT edits. Therewill be two listings at first, one showing the results of an O&D comparison toSchedule T-9 or Service Segment Data, and the other showing items flagged forgrossly disproportionate fare values.


Air carriers may discuss this Directive or any O&D problem with Mr. RichardKing (202)366-4375 or Mr. Richard Strite (202)366-4373. This action is taken under authority delegated in section 385.27(b) of theDepartment's regulations (14 CFR 385.27(b). Large certificated U.S. aircarriers entitled to petition for review of this directive under Section 385.50et sec., (14 CFR 385.50 et seg.) may file such petitions by April 28, 1989.Unless petitions for review are filed by that date, this directive shall becomeeffective July 1, 1989.

Robin A. Caldwell
Robin A. Caldwell
Director, office of Aviation
Information Management