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In recent years, flight delay costs the air transportation industry millions of dollars and has become a systematic problem. Understanding the behavior of flight delay is thus critical. This paper focuses on how flight delay is affected by operation-, time-, and weather-related factors. Different econometric models are developed to analyze departure and arrival delay. The results show that compared to departure delay, arrival delay is more likely to be affected by previous delays and the buffer effect. Block buffer presents a reduction effect seven times greater than turnaround buffer in terms of flight delays. Departure flights suffer more delays from convective weather than arrival flights. Convective weather at the destination airport for flight delay has a greater impact than at the original airport. In addition, sensitivity analysis of flight delays from an aircraft utilization perspective is conducted. We find that the effect of delay propagation on flight delay differs by aircraft utilization. This impact on departure delay is greater than the impact on arrival delay. In general, specific to the order of flights, the previous delay increases the impact on flight on-time performance as a flight flies a later leg. Buffer time has opposite effects on departure and arrival delay, with the order increasing. A decrease in buffer time with the order increasing, however, still has a greater reduction effect on departure delay than arrival delay. Specific to the number of flights operated by an aircraft, the more flights an aircraft flies in a day, the more the on-time performance of those flights will suffer from the previous delay and buffer time generally.

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National Natural Science Foundation of China


Delay propagation, Empirical analysis, Flight delay

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Aviation and Technology