Bad weather, natural disasters and strike action cost the travel industry up to an estimated $60 billion a year, according to new research.
This equates to some 8% of global industry revenues, the report on flight disruption by airline IT consultancy T2RL and commissioned by Amadeus calculates.
Disruption spreads ‘virally’ throughout the travel ecosystem – the knock-on impact of aircraft and crews not arriving as intended means highly optimised networks see further cancellations and delays often from a relatively minor initial problem.
The report also finds that industry regulations such as the tarmac delay rule in the US and mandatory compensation for delays across the EU are incentivising airlines to develop standard procedures for handling disruption situations.
The study finds that even airlines that compete vigorously will work together during times of disruption.
Ira Gershkoff, T2RIL principal consultant and author of the report, said: “There is every reason to believe the historic challenge of re-routing planes, crew and passengers during disruption will finally be addressed over the next several years.
“After a period of limited investment, the will has once again returned across airline boardrooms, driven in large part by the need to deliver reliably on ancillary product sales.
“What’s important is that service providers across the entire industry are collaborating to mitigate the impact on the traveller.”
Amadeus head of airline IT Julia Sattel added: “Disruption management is one of the most significant operational challenges our airline customers face.
“Any inroad made into this $60 billion a year problem will yield substantial return on investment, not to mention addressing a frustration that tops passenger satisfaction surveys year after year.
“Needless to say, Amadeus technicians and engineers are working to solve the disruption management challenge right now.”