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A review of historical data on British Airways delays: Patterns and predictions





British Airways is a London-based airline with a fleet of more than 280 aircraft and an exceptional workforce of 34,000 employees.

The airline is the second-largest in the UK due to its passenger count and fleet size.

British Airways is famous for its pioneering spirit and business-class operations aboard the A380 and 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

The popular airline was founded in 1974 during the fusion of British European Airways (BEA) and the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) to form one of the largest airlines in the country.

The company was private until it was sold back to the public in 1987 and remained one of the most popular airlines in the world.

With daily flights operating to and from 200 destinations, British Airways must overcome various challenges and maintain a high level of customer satisfaction to remain one of the top airlines in the world.

Impact of delays on airlines, passengers and the economy

Flight delays cost the airline industry approximately $30bn annually, according to a report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). These costs include the following:

Staff expenses

Fuel consumption

Emergency accommodation costs

Missed connections

Airspace violation fines

Customers who experience delays of more than three hours or cancellations without notice can also claim BA flight delay compensation, which is another added expense for the British airline. Although many disruptions are out of the airline’s control, the financial burdens and economic consequences are vast.

Objectives of the review

Several historical events led to hundreds of flight delays and cancellations including the global pandemic and IT glitch in 2022. The objective of this analysis is to identify common patterns that cause flight delays that can improve operations and inform passengers.

Analysing patterns of delays can assist airlines with crisis management in extreme situations and, in some cases, prevent disruptions altogether.

Historical Patterns of Delays

British Airways has been ranked as one of the UK’s worst airlines for delays by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The average delay time has worsened from 23 minutes behind schedule in 2022 to a delay of 25 minutes in 2024. The summer months show longer delays in June and July as passengers flock to holiday destinations in large numbers.

According to data analysis from Esendex, some common patterns of delays include the following:

Afternoon usage leads to more technical faults

Thursdays and Fridays have more flight delays and traffic

Particular flight paths cause more delays

Long-haul flights experience more delays

Some of the most problematic routes operated by British Airways include Newcastle to Heathrow and London to Poland. Although these patterns almost always cause delays, there is no way of confirming that they will cause future disruptions.

Factors contributing to delays

The most common reason for flight delays is adverse weather conditions which can vary throughout the year depending on the season. Although extreme weather causes lots of delays, there are also various other contributing factors including:

Bird strikes and animal collisions

Air Traffic Control (ATC) directives

Technical and maintenance issues

Security breaches

Airlines are unable to control many of the leading causes of flight delays, which can make it difficult for passengers to claim compensation. Unusual weather conditions and unpredictable animal behaviour can also be difficult for airlines to prevent. Therefore, British Airways should improve its crisis management strategy to reduce the damage caused by unexpected delays and cancellations.

How do British Airways delays compare with other major airlines?

Although British Airways are rated poorly in terms of delays, they are not the worst UK airline for disruptions. Wizz Air ranked as the least punctual airline, with an average delay of over 46 minutes. Virgin Atlantic, Blue Islands, and Logan Air all ranked the highest, with over 70-78 per cent of all flights arriving on time.

Internationally, British Airways operates flights to fewer destinations than other major airlines, such as American Airlines. The quality of service is also reported to be lower than that of Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airlines, which fly to fewer destinations with a better customer experience.

British Airways also charges passengers more baggage fees and seat assignment fees than other airlines. However, many passengers report that British Airways provides excellent services on long-haul flights with more amenities and options than other major airlines.

Implications for British Airways

Delays, cancellations, and poor customer service contribute to British Airways poor ratings. Surprisingly, customers rated British Airways 4.2 out of 5 for customer experience. According to Which? Consumer review: British Airways scored poorly on the boarding experience, value for money, and long-haul flights.

British Airways could improve customer satisfaction by educating passengers on their consumer rights and listening to feedback. The airline will surely continue to rank lower if it does not improve its customer experience and compensation process.

Conclusion

Delays and cancellations can have various effects on passengers and airlines from financial strain to physical and mental stress. Airlines must prevent disruptions and provide a smooth claims process for victims. The important factors to note when considering British Airways delays include the following:

Historical data can identify patterns to prevent delays

BA is one of the largest and most popular UK airlines

The average flight delay is 25 minutes (2024)

British Airways must learn from previous errors and compensation claims to improve customer service and reduce the risk of cancellations and delays in the future. By providing additional staff training and employing crisis management strategies, British Airways can enhance its services and reduce compensation claims.




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