The time that it takes to make a flight can be measured in many ways (for example, from take-off to landing) but a frequently used measure is the "block-time" which includes the times taken to taxi out to the runway and also to taxi-in on arrival. These times will be influenced by many factors, including the layout of the airport, which runway is in use, how busy it is and even the weather.
Overall, the actual flying time only accounts for around 85% of the total block-time, with around 10% spent in the taxi-out phase and 5% taxiing-in. The top graph shows the overall average taxi durations (as a percentage of the total flight) for flights operating to and from European airports. In the US, taxi-out times at major airports are typically longer than in Europe.
The bottom graph shows that the average taxi times at the top five airports in Europe vary considerably both in terms of their length and in terms of the ratio of taxi-out times to taxi-in times. They are also relatively high, reflecting the physical size of the airports and also how busy they are. Typically, flying from one of these airports to another will result in a total taxi time of over 20 minutes.
EUROCONTROL supports its stakeholders in measuring operational performance at airports and identifying how much taxi times can exceed the minimum required in non-congested conditions ("additional taxi-out time"). This analysis reveals that the average additional taxi-out times increased significantly in 2022, as a result of the increased traffic, with Heathrow’s rising from 2.7 minutes (in 2021) to 6.0 minutes and iGA Istanbul’s rising from 3.1 to 4.0 minutes. The objective of our support is to achieve higher levels of operational efficiency, benefitting runway throughput, reduced fuel burn and climate impact.
Technical Bits: Taxi-out and taxi-in times are determined for airports subject to the operational performance monitoring at airport under the EUROCONTROL Performance Review System and the Single European Sky Performance Scheme. These airports report flight by flight data on a monthly basis as part of the Airport Operator Data Flow (APDF) including off-block and in-block times. Flights are considered intra-European when departing and arriving at one of the currently approximately 80 APDF airports. Find more information on performance monitoring at airports/APDF .