Tracking Transient Traffic?


Is there a better way to see aircraft who are only using a certain airport for a fueling stop? I would like to be able to see how many fueling regulars certain airports have. Currently the only thing I can do is go into each aircraft flight history for the airport and try and decipher their route for the day and determine if they were stopping for fuel or not.

Anyone have any information that may help me?


There is nothing on FlightAware that can give you the information you are looking for. No one, other than the pilot and perhaps the FBO, knows why a particular airplane landed where they did.


Huh, how do you determine this???

Short turn doesn’t necessarily mean fuel stop, could be $100 hamburger, passenger pickup, yada yada yada.



Out of curiosity, why do you want this information? Is it to possibly set up a competing FBO (nothing wrong with that). If so, then you should be paying to find out this information rather than using a free service.


edit: I have retracted my query. Lesson number “236”, always look up previous post. :slight_smile:


I think you got it. Remember THISdiscussion?


Yes, we are looking for ways to attract traffic away from nearby airports and have them use ours. We are a very small GA and therefore have a very small budget. I was reading in Airport Business magazine that Monaco Air Duluth did a project similar to this and it worked out very well for them. We do not have the funding to pay for the professional services that would normally study these type of operations and do the research so I decided to fish around and see if there was a way I could do the work myself utilizing free information from the internet. I figure if I can then we can organize a fuel promo that may attract more traffic to us and allow us to grow and develop into a better airport.

And the point about the $100 hamburger is correct. It is nearly impossible to decipher a fuel stop from a hamburger stop, however if they are repeatedly returning on a weekly basis while enroute to a different location(s), then the chances are they are fueling. (Keep in mind I am also cross-examining the routes, aircraft ranges, and flight times to see if it makes sense as a fuel stop or not)


Just kinda brainstorming here to see what you might be able to do with a limited budget.

Have you considered possibly getting someone to check out nearby airports? The intern could sit down and watch the gas pump(s). If a plane comes in and leaves right after fueling, you have a transient.

This person could be an intern in aviation management, a kid(no younger than, say, 14 or 15) who is very interested in aviation and would love to watch planes all day, or even a student (high school or college) who is doing a term paper on aviation.

You could possibly reward the kid with a detailed tour of your airport (I would have loved that as a kid) or see if you can get a pilot to volunteer his time and/or gas to take the kid up for 30 minutes or so.


You don’t say if you are a pilot, but if you are not, then you need to quickly start thinking like a pilot.

Cheapest fuel is not necessarily the first choice for airports for me.

Convienence is, and by convienence I mean, is it easy ground transportation to and from, is it convienent for me to come in when the weather is not good (I.E. instrument approach), Service, while I never expect 5 star service, if the airport is of any size area wise and you have multiple buildings, this pilot always appreciates a plane marshall to help me figure out where to park. Are there services such as mechanic should something need to be repaired, or one easily accessable. Do you have a long runway, is it well maintained. Strange as it sounds, are you so rural that you don’t have cell service. I go to many airports that don’t even have that convienence, which really is bad after hours. I ask these questions for food for thought, so you can see at least what goes through this pilot’s mind.

My one time I needed a mechanic, I had to pay for her time to and from the airport which was 70 miles away. Quite costly since she had to make 3 trips (7 hours travel time round trip and she cut me a break).

What’s important to one pilot may not be important to another, so a wide range of flexibility may need to be in order.

There are a lot of online websites pilots check for information, and I won’t endorse one over another on this forum, but if you look through the archives and check out links, here and using Google, you may want to visit those links and be sure your airport information is updated on those websites. Outdated information is worse then no information for me.

While all the studies in the world may give you statistical data, NOTHING will replace that human touch :slight_smile:

Reach out to pilots in your area, talk to them, make your self known, ask them what they want, show them you care.

Word of mouth goes a looooong way in the aviation community, 'specially for that $100 hamburger LOL

Hope this helps!



I like the idea of having an intern do the study. I will keep that in mind.

I see your point Lieberma, about being a pilot and viewing it from that perspective. Yes, I am a pilot and I try to look at all the things from both sides. I feel we have done a pretty good job of fixing a lot of the convenience issues that pilots look for. We are up 93% on fuel volume sales over last year so our traffic is growing, mostly in the single category though. I am hoping that as we continue to make improvements and grow, we can start raising the traffic of some of the larger aircraft. It never hurts to examine all options on how to make it grow, which is why I wanted to figure out if this website can help.