Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) is a non-parametric method to evaluate the efficiency of organizations and processes. Many applications in different sectors have emerged since the DEA debut in 1978, especially in the field of regulation of power grids. The major advantage of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) is to reduce multivariate data to a single key performance indicator (KPI). However, this KPI is just one element to analyze the economic situation of a Decision-Making Unit (DMU), e.g. air navigation service providers. In particular, the optimal solutions of respective optimization problems in DEA offer much more information about the observed DMU(s). Hence, analyzing this information one can determine similarities or dissimilarities between the set of DMUs. Such relationships can then be graphically displayed and explored – intuitively as well as analytically. This might enable the analyst to discover valuable knowledge for decision support. With regard to reliability of the efficiency evaluations, object classifications can also be considered within the modeling.
The rising air traffic volume in Europe, and beyond, is demanding. Accordingly, the need for safe but also efficient air traffic management asks for approaches to evaluating service productions by more than just univariate measures. As almost all DEA applications in the field of air transport refer to airports or airlines as complete units, we concentrate on the efficiency measurement of air navigation services (ANS). Of course, therefore, we focus on the approach and departure phases and the set of DMUs here comprises 32 major European airports. This contribution includes a detailed discussion of the process of data-selection due to a considerable amount of data for potential DEA studies of ANS; the Performance Review Unit of EUROCONTROL provided all data. In a second step, graphical projections of the DEA results are determined by applying the multivariate method of Multidimensional Scaling. Finally, possible interpretations of underlying latent variables are given. The proposed approach provides new insights: for air navigation service providers as well as authorities, i.e. for regulatory purposes. With regard to a liberalized market for air navigation services in Europe, the overall project goal is to develop a powerful tool for ANS regulation.