Friday, June 4, 2010

Accuracy of delay codes

Some airports call delay codes "lie codes". It is obvious that ground handlers will, in doubt, blame anybody else for delays because they may have service level agreements with their airlines. I have even come across airport where airlines insist on adjusting the off-blocks time so that they do not have to report a bad on-time performance to their headquarter.

How can this be changed i.e. improved? My little plan would include
- Accountability
- Transparency
- Standardization
- Governance
- System Integration

Accountability: Each delay code (with subcode) has an owner or responsible organization and the delay code assignment process is clear and in place (assign, accept, reject, handling of disputes, final call).

Transparency: The assignment and the on-time performance of each organization is transparent to everybody.

Standardization: There is only one definition of delay codes and delays across the airport based on IATA standard, incorporated in the Airport Handling Manual (AHM). Any non-conformance e.g. different reporting from an airline to its head office will be brought forward to the Governance Forum.

Governance: The Punctuality Board, chaired by the Airport's Punctuality Manager, with delegates from handling agents and airlines proposes and tracks action plans on punctuality. They define punctuality targets broken down to each stakeholder.

System Integration: Delay codes and delays are captured or integrated into one system. That system should also allow to automatically track issues of a flight which could have caused the delay in case of disputes.


  1. Hi Jürgen: Congratulations for your blog and thanks for share your knowledge with us!

    Punctuality goals,systems integration, standardization. Sounds like Airport-Collaborative Decision Making.

    A-CDM is a consecuence or is prior to?

    Best regards. PABLO

  2. Hi Pablo,

    Glad you like the blog. Good question about A-CDM.

    Firstly, usually A-CDM is meant to be airside focused which is clear, because it is driven by Eurocontrol. I believe it should cover the entire airport operation.

    Secondly, in my personal opinion, A-CDM (even if it is both airside and landside) is a method/tool/concept which supports achieving operational excellence.

    Thirdly, from what I read about the A-CDM performance management (see e.g. KPI in it lacks important elements like responsibility accounting. The percentage punctuality does not really indicate on who should do what to improve. I have been working in the performance management area for more than 10 years now. Staff at all levels find KPIs great where they can hide behind ;-)

    In a nutshell, I am coming from "How can we provide great passenger experience while at the same time work efficiently and improve the bottom line for all airport partners?" Collaboration (and CDM) is great but is it really enough?