Every once in a while you will read a story about corporate jets and jets for the very wealthy people. The jets are faster and likely more comfortable than sitting on a commercial flight, whether it is first class or business class. As more and more jets, are bought and most of them are used for routine business of the company or usage by the executives. In an article by Tijana Martin of the Globe and Mail, she writes in 2017 a hedge fund figured out how to track the J&J or Johnson and Johnson plane. For a week it was in Switzerland near the headquarters of Actelion Ltd. The hedge funds people decided it meant an acquisition for J&J, they bought Actelion shares and watched it go up and make extra profits.
When the chief data officer of Quandl heard about the large payoff, he asked himself is it possible to automate the process. The answer turned out to yes, but huge amounts of data are needed. The satellites in the sky, communication networks, ground observers, radar networks, aircraft transponders and flight logs are entered into the systems. In addition – who owns the plane and what are they doing as well as media and company reports. The data is compiled and if the plane has something different and report is produced. The traders can do with the information it wants to.
Linking to dividend paying stocks, corporate executives have a need area of concern about the tracking of their rides. Information such as this means the world becomes a smaller place. Alternative data is a competitive advantage, although in an interview Warren Buffett offered the alternative to fly Netjets which are all registered in Netjets name. In government transparency is heard regularly, for public company executives it is possible to track their movements. Maybe law enforcement will gain access to the data to keep at little more honest.
There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.