In the airline industry, schedule development has always been challenging due to the sheer scale and complexity of any given carrier’s flight network, as well as numerous practical and regulatory constraints.
Consequently, in developing a schedule, a great preponderance of consideration has been placed on profitability and competitiveness, but a lot less attention has commonly been paid to schedule reliability.
Schedule reliability is most fundamentally and directly measured in terms of flight delays, cancellations, and missed crew and passenger connections. The consequences of an unreliable schedule can be both tangible and intangible, with a highly significant financial impact.
Tangible negative schedule outcomes result in lost revenue due to canceled flights and missed passenger connections, as well as increased costs due to disruptions to crew schedules, higher levels of jet-fuel consumption and inadequate ground staffing.
Examples of intangible impacts include less-than-desired customer satisfaction and loyalty, in addition to various potential environmental impacts.
Variability in flying times and taxi times, congested airports, air-traffic-control issues, airline ground resources and weather are major contributing factors to flight delays and disruptions.