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Past Issue • Apr-Jun 2016

Robust Airline Operations: Planning for uncertainty

Robust Airline Operations: Planning for uncertainty

Managing flight schedules are as important for improving airline bottom lines as airport bottlenecks. Schedule padding in isolation may never achieve the desired result of improving operational robustness. Instead, it could further conceal operational inefficiencies and impose additional costs.
Flight delays and cancellations are common to most airlines worldwide. Delays can be costly and have a significant impact on the economy, particularly when air transportation is one of the predominant modes of passenger travel. A report by the Joint Economic Committee of the US. Congress [see Schumer and Maloney, 2008] estimated that the total cost to the US economy because of flight delays was close to $41 billion in 2007 - a year when airline on-time performance (OTP) was the second worst on record in the US. This includes an estimated $19 billion in operating costs to the airlines, as well as $12 billion in passenger delay costs. The report also estimated that flight delays resulted in consumption of 740 million additional gallons of jet fuel, costing an additional $1.6 billion in fuel costs.


  • Milind-G-Sohoni

    Milind G. Sohoni

    Associate Professor of Operations Management and Senior Associate Dean, Faculty Alignment and Registrar Office at the Indian School of Business (ISB).
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