Per-Minute Cost of Delays to U.S. Airlines

Direct Costs
In 2015, the cost of aircraft block (taxi plus airborne) time for U.S. passenger airlines was $65.43 per minute, nearly 16 percent less than in 2014. Fuel costs, the largest line item, declined 39 percent to $22.62 per minute. Crew costs rose 12 percent to $19.54 per minute, followed by maintenance and aircraft ownership ($11.63 and $8.80, respectively) and all other costs ($2.85).

Calendar Year 2015 Direct Aircraft Operating
Cost per Block Minute
∆ vs. 2014
Fuel $22.62 -39.1%
Crew – Pilots/Flight Attendants 19.54 11.9%
Maintenance 11.63 -3.1%
Aircraft Ownership 8.80 6.4%
Other 2.85 -2.3%
Total Direct Operating Costs $65.43 -15.9%

Notes:
1. Costs based on DOT Form 41 data for U.S. scheduled passenger airlines

Additional Costs
Delayed aircraft are estimated to have cost the airlines several billion dollars in additional expense.  Delays also drive the need for extra gates and ground personnel and impose costs on airline customers (including shippers) in the form of lost productivity, wages and goodwill. Assuming $47.44 per hour* as the average value of a passenger’s time, 2015 delays are estimated to have cost air travelers billions of dollars.  In 2010, FAA/Nextor completed a comprehensive study on the costs and impacts of flight delays in the U.S. and estimated the annual costs of delays in 2007 to be $31 billion.

Implications
ATC delays, especially enroute delays, prevail in many parts of the national airspace system. Moreover, our airport and airway infrastructure can not be scaled to meet future demand as anticipated in the FAA aerospace forecasts. In addition to new runways, the deployment of modern ATC technologies and changes to operational procedures are critical to the nation’s air system and the economy.

* derived from FAA-recommended values as adjusted using BLS employment cost index.