How Flight Delays Set Off A Domino Effect

January 11, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

A single delay in America’s air traffic network has a domino effect that causes flight disruptions for hundreds of other flights according to an article in the MIT Technology Review:

  • The thing that propagates across the network the quickest is when crew and passengers are held up on one flight, preventing the next flight from departing.
  • On multi-leg flights a delay in one take-off will also cause further disruptions down the chain. This can affect other flights because airports have limited capacity and if more planes arrive than scheduled, then passengers will have to be kept waiting.
  • Problems such as weather disruptions generally stay contained in localized areas.
  • Congestion problems reset every evening when flight volumes decline.

Read more about the study and its findings over here.

Source: MIT Technology Review