What is OTP?

Dec. 1, 2023
On-time performance is a key metric used by airlines, airports and other members of the commercial aviation industry to determine punctuality and efficiency.

The aviation industry is rife with acronyms. Keeping those acronyms organized in your mind can be challenging, especially when an acronym may be used for another phrase elsewhere.

Take OTP for example. It is used in multiple industries, including the technology or pharmaceutical fields. But in the context of aviation, OTP means ‘on-time performance.’

And in an industry like commercial aviation, where efficiency and detailed scheduling play a crucial role in the overall success of its members, OTP comes with great importance.

At OAG, company officials regularly track global OTP data and publishes its findings. According to OAG officials, an on-time flight for an airline is defined as arriving within 15 minutes of the scheduled time. Flights that arrive outside of that 15-minute window and cancellations are classed as not on-time. 

Successful OTP figures can be a source of pride for an airline or an airport as well as a selling point to its customers. But OTP can also serve as vital information to help an organization improve.

“Larger airlines, airports and indeed ground handling suppliers are increasingly using on-time performance dashboards that show the relative performance of a cluster of airports or airlines on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. The enables effective disruption management but also provides accurate operational information to identify efficiency opportunities,” OAG’s John Grant explained to Ground Support Worldwide readers.

Several factors can influence OTP, including weather conditions, incidents at an airport, technical issues, labor action and ground handling delays.

But with strong OTP, the entire commercial aviation ecosystem works together seamlessly. Airlines can sequence arriving aircraft more effectively, airports can have gates available for arriving aircraft and ground support equipment (GSE) can be staged at the gate ahead of time, among other benefits.

Understanding and using flight status data not only allows you to review performance and learn from it,” Grant said. “Monitoring real-time data now means outcomes can be affected on the day, better decisions made, disruptions managed and, ultimately, better service delivery and cost efficiency.

About the Author

Josh Smith | Editor