Analyzing Air Travel Disruptions in the National Air Transportation System
Many of the existing methods for evaluating an airline's on-time performance are based on flight-centric measures of flight delay. However, recent research has demonstrated that as much as 50% of passenger delays are caused by passenger travel disruptions, either flight cancelations or missed connections. The propensity for disruptions varies significantly across airports and carriers, based on key factors such as scheduling practices, network structures, and passenger connections. In this paper, we analyze the causes and costs of U.S. passenger travel disruptions by applying data analysis and statistical modeling to historical flight and passenger data. The passenger travel and delay data we use for our analysis is estimated from publicly available data sources using a methodology previously developed to disaggregate passenger demand data. We find that cancelations, which are the largest cause of disruption-related passenger delays, vary substantially across carriers, even when accounting for baseline variability across airports. Passenger and operational considerations also play a significant role in cancelation decisions. Regarding missed connections, much of the variability can be explained just by flight delays for the airport and carrier, though flight schedule construction is also a critical factor. Highly peaked (or banked) flight schedules tend to reduce connection times and therefore increase the risk of missed connections. Last, we demonstrate the importance of a variety of factors on the ease of re-accommodating disrupted passengers.
Keywords: Customer Focus and Relationships;
Data and Data Sets;
Measurement and Metrics;
Air Transportation Industry;
Barnhart, C., D. Fearing, and V. Vaze. "Analyzing Air Travel Disruptions in the National Air Transportation System."