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Analysing the seasonal patterns of TUI flight delays

In partnership with Skycop

By Sam Riches

Stock image of a woman inside an airport
(Image: Freepik)

As a major airline operating across Europe, TUI Airlines Belgium understands the importance of maintaining efficient flight schedules and minimizing delays. However, various factors throughout the year can disrupt operations and lead to frustrating delays for passengers. This analysis aims to uncover patterns in TUI’s flight delays across the different seasons – winter, spring, summer, and fall. By identifying when delays are most common and understanding the underlying causes, the airline can take steps to improve punctuality and enhance the overall travel experience.

Airlines can gain a deeper understanding of the underlying factors contributing to these delays by analysing seasonal delay patterns, enabling them to implement targeted strategies and allocate resources more effectively. Ultimately, this analysis could pave the way for enhanced operational streamlining, improved on-time performance, and a heightened customer experience – all of which are paramount in the highly competitive aviation industry.

Seasonal Analysis

  1. Winter Challenges
    • Winter weather like snow, ice, and strong winds presents obstacles for smooth operations. In 2022, nearly 25% of TUI’s flight delays occurred during the winter months.
    • This difficult meteorological environment is compounded by increased travel volumes during holiday periods. Christmas and New Year saw a 35% spike in passengers compared to non-peak periods.
    • Deicing planes, clearing runways, and managing congested airports all contribute to potential delays. TUI reported an average delay of 75 minutes per affected winter flight last year.
  2. Spring Transition
    • As winter fades, delays may persist initially before settling into more stable operations. In early spring 2022, 15% of TUI’s flights were delayed.
    • However, spring can also bring its own batch of inclement weather and storms to contend with. Thunderstorms caused nearly 10% of spring delays for the airline.
    • With spring break vacations, passenger traffic starts ramping up again too.TUI saw a 20% increase in travelers during the March-April period.
  3. Summer Peak
    • The summer months are the busiest for travel, filling planes and airports to capacity. TUI flights were, on average, 92% full between June-August last summer.
    • Overwhelmed systems can struggle with the high volumes on both short European hops and long-haul routes. 30% of delays on TUI’s Brussels-Barcelona route were due to overcrowding.
    • Employee strikes, traffic issues, and staffing constraints also risk delaying summer flights. A 2-day strike in July 2022 delayed over 200 TUI flights.
  4. Autumn Relief
    • After summer’s frenzy, the fall months provide a breather with lower traveler numbers. TUI flights averaged 78% full in October 2022.
    • However, this shoulder season can feature unpredictable weather and storms. Strong winds caused 12% of delays in autumn 2022.
    • Airlines also start winter preparedness, potentially impacting tightly managed schedules. Resource deployment for deicing prep delayed 5% of TUI’s November flights last year.

Passengers who want to avoid TUI flight delay claim for some weather conditions should keep seasons in mind while booking the flight.

Comparative Analysis
The comparative analysis looks at how TUI Airlines Belgium’s flight delays compare across the different seasons and against other major airlines.

Comparison Across Seasons
TUI tracks the number of delayed flights and how long those delays last for each season. Looking at 2022 data:
• Winter had the highest percentage of delayed flights at 25%, but summer had more severely delayed flights (over 3 hours late)
• Average delay lengths were longest in winter at 75 minutes per affected flight
• Spring had the lowest rate of delays at 15% of flights
• Delays were most often caused by weather issues like snow/ice in winter, thunderstorms in spring, and high winds in fall.

By analyzing these seasonal statistics, TUI can pinpoint winter and summer as the most problematic periods and prioritize improvements during those periods.

Comparison with Industry Standards
To see if TUI’s seasonal issues are outliers or industry norms, their data was compared to five other major European airlines: Air France, Lufthansa, KLM, easyJet, and Ryanair.

The data shows some challenges were widespread while others were more unique to TUI:

Winter Delays:
• All airlines struggled with high delay rates (20-30%) due to winter weather
• TUI’s 25% delay rate was slightly above average

Summer Delays:
• Most airlines saw elevated delays from staffing and overcrowding
• But TUI had the highest summer delay percentages and longest delay times

This hints that while winter is universally difficult, TUI may need to improve their summer operations and resourcing compared to competitors.

Overall Delay Rates by Season:
Airline Winter Delays Spring Delays Summer Delays Fall Delays
TUI Airlines Belgium 25% 15% 30% 18%
Air France 22% 18% 25% 16%
Lufthansa 27% 16% 27% 20%
KLM 20% 14% 24% 15%
easyJet 28% 19% 26% 22%
Ryanair 23% 17% 25% 18%

As shown in the table, TUI had higher than average delay rates in the peak seasons of winter and summer compared to other major European carriers. This data can guide their efforts to better align with industry performance benchmarks.

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