DBEA55AED16C0C92252A6554BC1553B2 Clicky DBEA55AED16C0C92252A6554BC1553B2 Clicky
May 21, 2024
Rising arrival delays - estimating the associated costs
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US airlines are struggling to get flights to arrive on-time again.  The lack of staff may be accelerating the impact.  The following chart shows the on-time arrival for the first four months in 2022. As the bold last row indicates, the rise in delays is growing fast and this was through early spring.  The implications for summer are clear, and we are hearing about this now regularly.

There is the 15-minute rule (spurious, but whatever) that provides some context on arrival delays.  The next chart lists how the US airlines have been doing. Even with the 15-minute rule excuse, on-time arrivals are as bad as they’ve been over the period. 


Using the most recent DT data on airline costs provides a guide as to how these delays are playing out in terms of operational costs. The following table is an estimate of the costs involved. 

As a group, these airlines may have run up over $405m in extra costs by missing schedules – and this is using the 15-minute rule.  A more exacting approach to schedule has far higher costs. For an industry that sells a schedule, this is not a great performance.

Is this a huge number? After all, the numbers for the industry are massive.  As a perspective, consider this.  Based on aircraft pricing, these airlines could have bought and paid for 10 MAX8s in four months.  So the number is significant. Bear in mind we expect higher costs and greater delay numbers as we go through the summer. 

author avatar
Addison Schonland
Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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