Air traffic delays cost airlines $19 billion in 2007
Savvy business travelers should expect ticket prices to start jumping upwards soon as airlines start to conclude that charging $15 for checked luggage and selling in-flight snacks is not going to make up for the losses incurred from high oil costs and inadequate flight traffic systems.
I actually didn’t know, until I read in the New York Times today, that air traffic delays account for such a huge drain on the industry:
Last year, “air traffic delays raised airlines’ operating costs by $19 billion,” counting fuel, crew, maintenance and other costs incurred by planes circling and waiting to land or sitting at gates or on tarmacs beyond departure times, the report said.
Officially, about a quarter of all flights arrived late last year. But airlines routinely build extra time into the schedule for many flights, which “significantly underestimates the problem,” the report said.
Have you ever glanced at the screen when your ticket is scanned at the gate? It looks like a program running in Windows 95.
Upgrading the systems might be an expensive one-time cost, but if airlines could stop writing down a few billion dollars a year in red ink they might be able to better cope with the high oil prices and, coincidentally, stop asking us to pay these silly baggage fees.