From the perspective of an airline, is it just to avoid penalty and also to portray reliable service to the customers? Or is it just a matter of logistics and scheduling?

  • $\begingroup$ Hi Tobias, welcome to aviation.SE. I have to admit that I do not see your question well suited for the scope of this site. Please wait also for the opinions of other users, but it might be better for you to ask on travel.SE. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ Who wants to fly an airline that never gets you where you need to be on time? Especially if "where you need to be" is a connection for an airline that knows how to keep a schedule... $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 14:35
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    $\begingroup$ @JayCarr I see the point. I retract the VTC, but I hope that the answers will not focus on the passenger side of things. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 14:41
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    $\begingroup$ I am new here. So, I should ask my question at the other site but not this? $\endgroup$
    – Tobias
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 14:42
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @Tobias I think you are fine so long as this questions is about how airlines operate from the perspective of the airline (why do airlines pick particular planes? Are some airports better for certain jets than others? Etc). If its a question of how they operate from a passenger perspective (ie., how good are the seats? how does this rewards program work? etc), then it's better on Travel.SE. Right now your question is a little ambiguous which it is, perhaps if you edited it a bit... $\endgroup$
    – Jae Carr
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


I can think of a few:

  • Any delay in the flight is a waste of valuable resources- the flight, cabin and ground crew who have to be paid and the aircraft itself, which is not generating any revenue but costing money for the airline. Also, the airline may have to pay for the time the aircraft spends in the airport.

  • There is an economic cost associated with on-time performance- for example, passengers are more likely to take airlines which have better on-time performance over others.

  • Another case is that of customers taking connecting flights- again, on-time performance could be the difference here. This means loss of business for the lower performing airline.

  • For airlines operating multiple trips per day, the delay and the associated costs are cumulative; for example, if the first flight of the day is delayed, it snowballs into the day- requires replanning for the rest of the day in other airports and causes further delays.

For the airline industry, the delays cost billions of dollars every year (1 and 2) and can reduce the operating revenues by a few percentage points (3). The table below, taken from the NEXTOR report on Total Delay Impact Study shows the cost to US airlines due to delays.

Delay cost

As can be seen, the the costs due to delay to airlines are quite high.


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