Flight delays are a major annoyance for travelers, and they can have a significant financial impact on airlines, as well. Recently, a new study conducted by the University at Buffalo has found that there are several things airlines can do to improve their on-time performance (OTP).
About the Study
The study was conducted by Milind Sohoni, a professor of operations management and strategy at the University at Buffalo, along with professors from Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina.
Furthermore, the study has shown that operational improvements are the most effective way to improve OTP. Moreover, these include reducing travel time, increasing boarding efficiency, and minimizing gate-related delays.
“Operational improvements are the most effective way to improve OTP,” Milind Sohoni explained.
In addition, schedule padding, or adding additional time to a schedule, can also help to improve OTP, but it is less effective than operational improvements. Besides, network structure changes, such as changes to flight routes or schedules, have the least impact on OTP.
How Operational Improvements Help Airlines’ Improve Their OTP?
Air service can make many operational improvements to improve their OTP. These include:
Reducing taxi time
Taxi time is the time it takes for an airplane to taxi from the gate to the runway. Carriers can reduce taxi time by investing in new ground radar systems and improving their ground crew procedures.
Improving Boarding Efficiency
Airlines can improve boarding efficiency by using self-boarding kiosks, implementing assigned seating, and providing more boarding lanes.
Many factors, such as late incoming flights and maintenance issues can cause gate-related delays. Airlines can minimize gate-related delays by improving their communication with passengers and having a backup plan in place for when things go wrong.
Schedule padding is another way that airlines can use to improve their OTP. However, it can also lead to longer flight times. So, airlines need to balance the benefits of schedule padding with the costs of longer flight times.
Network Structure Changes
Network structure changes have the least impact on OTP, but they can still be helpful in improving on-time performance. For example, airlines can reduce OTP by avoiding congested airports and scheduling flights when there is less air traffic.
Competition Plays a Role in OTP
The study also found that competition plays a role in OTP. In other words, airlines that compete with each other are more likely to have better OTPs. Because they compete for passengers and are more likely to invest in operational improvements and schedule padding.
Airlines can improve their OTP by making operational improvements, using schedule padding, and changing their network structure. In addition, airlines should focus on competing with each other to improve on-time performance.