In an earlier post, we showed that at JFK Delta takes a lot more time taxiing than other airlines. The reaction led us to dig deeper into the data. Here’s what we find. Looking at 1H11 data from DoT, Delta seems to have an issue with taxi times at numerous airports. Delta clearly has a problem at JFK, but there are other spots that attract attention.
The data for each airport is sorted in descending order by operational share. The yellow box summarizes Delta’s performance at these airports. Typically Delta takes more time taxiing at these airports and in percentage terms it takes a lot more time than average.
Taking these data points and adding a cost component is not easy. Airlines do not provide their operational costs per hour. But we do know that typically an airline burns 17 pounds of fuel on a taxiway per engine. We assume Delta’s pilots taxi on one engine to keep fuel burn to its lowest. When compiling the numbers for these four airports we estimate Delta burned over 1.7m gallons of fuel at an estimated cost over $5m just to cover the additional taxi time compared with other airlines.
Note there are other key airports for Delta like Detroit, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City that could be added to this analysis. Which is to say the $5m in additional costs is low. One could also add MRO and labor costs of having an airplane moving around. No matter how one looks at this, the cost of those extra minutes is not insignificant.