EUROCONTROL Think Paper #6 - Arriving on time: the passenger priority

How a more efficient Network can help reduce airline schedule buffers
Airport clock

You’ve just boarded your flight. The pilot announces that boarding is complete, but the aircraft will have to wait another 10 minutes on the parking position because of “a small ATC delay”. Relax. This doesn’t automatically mean that you will arrive late at the destination airport.

In recent years airlines have realised that arriving on-time is more valuable to a passenger than departing on-time, and developed tactical and strategic measures, such as schedule buffers to ensure a flight arrives on time. This addresses the true priority of passengers – arrival punctuality - but also mitigates the risk of reactionary delay building up towards the end of the day. 

But these schedule buffers come at a cost to the airlines as more resources are planned than actually needed. Schedule buffers also lower the aircraft utilisation and result in early arrivals in case the anticipated delay is lacking.

A more efficient Network will reduce ATFM delays and boost departure and arrival punctuality. As airlines require fewer schedule buffers it will also improve their aircraft utilisation.


EUROCONTROL Think Paper #6 - Arriving on time: the passenger priority