RESEARCH: Air travel delays at an all-time high in 2024

AIR NEWS survey

Thanks to demand for air travel continuing to grow amid staff shortages, the majority of airline and airport executives predict that flight disruptions will continue this year, a survey by Amadeus reveals.

Flight disruptions, which occur when a flight is delayed for two or more hours or cancelled within 48 hours of departure time, remain 300% higher than usual, according to industry data provider Infare. The reason: a shortage of qualified staff and high demand for post-pandemic travel.

“In 2022, airlines faced supply and staffing issues, but during 2023, airlines and their partners were faced with an unprecedented return of demand,” said Harry Grewal, director of infrastructure and customer experience at the International Air Transport Association (IATA). “Of course, this is very welcome, but it brings its own operational challenges.”

An Amadeus survey, entitled “Better together: Rethinking how disruption is managed in aviation”, which was conducted with top airline and airport executives, found that while there is a difference of opinion on whether disruption will increase or decrease this year, all agree that enhancing innovation is one of the ways in which the rate of travel disruption is being pursued to improve.

The majority of airline and airport executives surveyed (52%) said their organizations are experiencing more disruptions today than in 2019, while a third reported fewer.

50% of airport chiefs report “a lack of common technology that brings stakeholders together” to respond to disruptions, while a third of them say that last-minute information from airlines is a major challenge. All airports plan to invest in operational control technology this year.

Other key information from the survey includes:

-64% of airlines are investing in new technology to improve their response to disruption.

-The top reason for airline investment was “improving our public image” at 70%, well ahead of “reducing costs” at 34%.

-Airlines point to the need for ” greater integration of our operational systems to provide a holistic view of disruption” as the top capability to improve their response.

-Airport chiefs cited the “lack of common technology that brings stakeholders together” as the top challenge to responding to disruptions (50%).

-A third of airport leaders identified “last-minute information provision by airlines” as a persistent challenge.

-All airports surveyed confirmed that they plan to invest in technology in their operational control centres to better manage disruptions. A quarter plan to do so in the next 12 months.

“Disruption is an extremely complex problem that requires airlines, airports, ground handlers and others to work together,” said Holger Mattig, senior vice president for airport and airline product management at Amadeus.

“Unfortunately, we still have too much information in individual segments in aviation, which impacts the overall response and ultimately passengers,” Mattig continued. “However, I sense a real determination across the industry to set aside historical commercial tensions and offer a better, more unified and traveler-centric approach to disruption, which is enhanced by sharing technology.

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