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April 14, 2024

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Anything related to a Boeing aircraft has become a media tripwire.  Losing a tire? A panel falls off? How about a hydraulic leak? If it bleeds, it leads, right? These events have been occurring since commercial flights started.

Can we identify hangar queens among US airlines? Regular readers know we have been tracking US airline operations for some time.

Here’s a data-driven reflection of the US airline fleet. We compiled data from 2017 through 2023 using the DoT’s On-Time dataset. The dataset covers 44 million flights by 6,494 airliners, which makes it statistically reliable by anyone’s measure.  The US has a daily average of over 17,300 commercial flights. That number might be higher if we did not have a pandemic.

Please read the notes to understand what to look for on each page.  The model processes a lot of data; please expect some delay as it loads.

Notes:

  • Page 1—
    • Select an airline to see tail numbers by the number of flights (X-axis) and the percentage of canceled flights. The higher the tail number, the more frequently it had a canceled flight.
    • The ball size reflects the number of flights.
    • The data shows that the cancellation percentage is low. The industry average is 1.7%.
    • You can watch fleet performance play out over the period using the “play” button at the bottom left. This is interesting as it covers the pandemic period.
  • Page 2 –
    • Here, we show the data by OEM and airline.
    • The Airbus fleet averages cancellations at 1.3% compared to Boeing’s 1.1%.  Boeing is doing great, thank you.
  • Page 3 –
    • This one is more detailed and allows drilling down.
    • Select an airline, and the first table lists the OEMs.  The second table lists the model for the selected airline, and the third table lists the fleet by tail number.
  • Page 4 –
    • Some summary data for context and “big picture” views

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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.

1 thought on “US Airline Hangar Queens

  1. Excellent overview. Thank you. Couple that with the fact that there has not been a major airplane incident since 2009. It’s no secret that the media tends to blow things out of proportion so that they can drag the stories out. Case in point – they were reporting the door separation incident as an “explosion” for several days after it occurred.

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