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The Hidden Cost of Airline Unpunctuality


  • Andrew Cook
  • Graham Tanner
  • Adrian Lawes


The 'soft' cost of delay - for example, loss of market share due to unpunctuality - is a dominant component in the economics of airline delay. Nevertheless, it remains poorly understood, with almost no quantitative costs published. Drawing on primary survey data and the literature, including Kano satisfaction factors, passenger airline-switching propensity is modelled. Using our peer-reviewed estimate of the average soft cost, we newly estimate its distribution as a function of delay duration. Policy implications emerging from the economics of punctuality target-setting and disruption management techniques are discussed. A shift in strategy from managing delay minutes to delay costs is proposed. © 2012 LSE and the University of Bath

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Cook & Graham Tanner & Adrian Lawes, 2012. "The Hidden Cost of Airline Unpunctuality," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 46(2), pages 157-173, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpe:jtecpo:v:46:y:2012:i:2:p:157-173

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    Cited by:

    1. Santos, Bruno F. & Wormer, Maarten M.E.C. & Achola, Thomas A.O. & Curran, Richard, 2017. "Airline delay management problem with airport capacity constraints and priority decisions," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 34-44.
    2. Eduardo S. Ayra & David Ríos Insua & María Eugenia Castellanos & Lydia Larbi, 2015. "Risk Analysis for Unintentional Slide Deployment During Airline Operations," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 35(9), pages 1652-1662, September.
    3. Tam Thien Vo & Xinning Xiao & Shuk Ying Ho, 2019. "How Does Corporate Social Responsibility Engagement Influence Word of Mouth on Twitter? Evidence from the Airline Industry," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 157(2), pages 525-542, June.
    4. Yimga, Jules, 2020. "Price and marginal cost effects of on-time performance: Evidence from the US airline industry," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    5. Lang, Fabian & Fink, Andreas & Brandt, Tobias, 2016. "Design of automated negotiation mechanisms for decentralized heterogeneous machine scheduling," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 248(1), pages 192-203.
    6. Rodríguez-Sanz, à lvaro & Comendador, Fernando Gómez & Valdés, Rosa Arnaldo & Pérez-Castán, Javier A., 2018. "Characterization and prediction of the airport operational saturation," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 147-172.
    7. Javier Cano & David Ríos Insua & Alessandra Tedeschi & Ug̃ur Turhan, 2016. "Security economics: an adversarial risk analysis approach to airport protection," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 245(1), pages 359-378, October.
    8. Liu, Yulin & Yin, Mogeng & Hansen, Mark, 2019. "Economic costs of air cargo flight delays related to late package deliveries," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 388-401.
    9. Malandri, Caterina & Mantecchini, Luca & Reis, Vasco, 2019. "Aircraft turnaround and industrial actions: How ground handlers' strikes affect airport airside operational efficiency," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 23-32.
    10. Kuljanin, Jovana & Kalić, Milica & Caggiani, Leonardo & Ottomanelli, Michele, 2019. "A comparative efficiency and productivity analysis: Implication to airlines located in Central and South-East Europe," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 152-163.

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