It is useful to know just how crucial ground operations are for for airlines. Using the US airlines as an example, we developed the following one page model.
You can change the year and aircraft type. Remember to use the double-headed arrow at bottom right to allow for optimal viewing on your screen. This model will NOT display well on a mobile phone or any device with a small screen.
- We focused on the Top 25 US origin airports by flights – the year selection is useful for the table. If you select an airport listed in the big table, the model updates to only report numbers for that airport in all the charts and tables.
- Note total taxi time as a percentage of the average flight time – it is alarming how high this is and several airports report taxi time is over one fifth of elapsed flight time
- Regional jets spend more time taxiing – to be expected as they do more frequent turns
- The colorful table shows in detail the average taxi time in minutes. The more red, the relatively worse the number. The more green, the opposite.
- In the line chart we can see how taxi time improved in 2020 and the reason is obvious. Using the Type selector highlights which aircraft have seen most improvements
Ground Ops are a big problem for airlines. Crowded and tight airports cost airlines extra time. This time isn’t free – we estimate the typical US airline operational minute at $100. Airlines benefit from shorter times on the ground which is why LCCs try to minimize turn times since they have the tightest margins. But traffic flows at airports are an equal constraint on every airline.
The question is are airports poorly designed for traffic flow or are airlines not being time efficient? Perhaps a combination of both?