The Work that Keeps Flights On Time

Dec. 19, 2023
Ground service personnel supply key services to help passengers fulfill their holiday plans.

The holiday season puts pressure on the commercial aviation industry every year. Not only is there an influx of travelers, but those passengers have high expectations that they will reach their destination on time to visit with family and enjoy vacations.

With air travel ripe for scrutiny, it is imperative that flights depart and arrive on time.

The domestic airline industry rose to the challenge during the Thanksgiving holiday period here in the United States.

According to data from Airlines for America (A4A), U.S. airlines recorded a 99.9 percent completion factor between Nov. 17-26, compared to 99.6 percent last year. A4A also reported an 83.1 percent on-time arrival rate during the same time period, compared to 80.6 percent last year.

Officials with A4A say the completion factor for U.S. airlines in 2023 is 98.6 percent, improving over figures recorded in 2018, 2019 and 2022.

These rates are even more impressive considering the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) reported Nov. 26 was the busiest day ever for air travel after screening more than 2.9 million individuals at airports across the United States.

The industry will be looking to continue this successful trend as holiday travel continues through the end of the year. According to data from OAG, airlines have been steadily improving on-time performance (OTP) throughout the calendar year.

In fact, figures released by OAG in November indicate North American airlines’ OTP improved from an average of 50.8 percent in June 2023 to 82.6 percent in October.

That figure put the region ahead of all others included in OAG's reporting during that time period.

“The region’s lower OTP in the summer months can be attributed to some severe weather, including storms leading into the busy Fourth of July period, as well as IT and air traffic control problems. All of this was exacerbated by shortfalls in staffing,” say officials at OAG, noting an on-time flight for airlines is defined as arriving within 15 minutes of the scheduled time, with cancellations being classed as not on-time.

As airlines strive to satisfy their customers, it is crucial that ground service providers support their airline customers. Efficient ground services are pivotal to successful OTP rates.

Our industry props up the airlines’ successes with efficient turnaround services, fueling operations and above-the-wing tasks. While it may go unnoticed by members of the flying public, commercial aviation relies on these ground services.

Thank you to all of you who add to the ground support industry’s accomplishments. From all of us at Ground Support Worldwide, we wish you continued success in the New Year.