To keep things brief, for a data exploration project, I calculated density altitude for a couple airports and used flight statistics from https://www.transtats.bts.gov/ONTIME/Departures.aspx.

I was under the assumption that a higher density altitude is bad for performance and would involve things like longer takeoff time which can prolong taxi out time(from gate to runway) since a plane in line would have to wait longer for earlier planes to takeoff. Is this true?

Or is there pretty much such a minuscule difference that density altitude shouldn't matter in the context of taxi out time?

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    $\begingroup$ A longer takeoff roll for plane A has probably zero impact on the plane's B hold time because event with a short takeoff roll, plane A would still have to clear the runway before B can takeoff. That said, if the performance is bad enough, plane A may have to do a short field takeoff procedure (basically more flaps and full power before releasing the brakes), which may take a few more seconds to execute. This is pure speculation as I have no data backing this to pretend to an answer though. $\endgroup$
    – Quentin H
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 12:00
  • $\begingroup$ It sounds like you have the information necessary to answer your own question (at least a preliminary answer) based on your data. What answer does your data give you? Are you confused because you were expecting prolonged TOT, yet that's not what your data showed? $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 16, 2019 at 14:32

1 Answer 1


The time between takeoffs on a given runway is a function of wake turbulence separation from the preceding aircraft, though wake turbulence avoidance times can often be waived by the pilot in command (depending on operating procedures). Takeoff separation time is calculated based on aircraft type/weight.

An increase in density altitude could determine whether or not the aircraft can do an intersection takeoff, which in some cases could increase taxi time.


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