Benchmark: How Leading Airports Handle Post-Pandemic Traffic Growth
It seems like the aviation industry is slowly leaving the pandemic behind. At least there have been many promising signs during the last months. And although Europe, Middle East, and South America are some steps behind Asia and North America, the summer traffic signs have turned green for many airlines.
However, we wanted to know the details about how airports have performed in the last months. Therefore we selected twelve of the world’s biggest airports and analyzed their operations. In that context, we looked at on-time performance, the number of cancellations, and the number of flights from February to May 2021. Here’s what’s contained in the blog post in detail:
- Airport Benchmark Overview — Number of Flights
- Airport Benchmark Overview — On-Time Performance
- Airport Benchmark Overview — Cancellations
- Airport Details
Airport Benchmark Overview — Number of Flights
When looking at the number of flights, Atlanta remains the world’s biggest airport during the entire period. However, other U.S. airports, such as Denver, Chicago, or Dallas, get very close in some months. Overall, most airports show an increase in the number of flights between February and May 2021.
|Los Angeles (LAX)||11,221||13,752||14,188||16,666|
|Chicago O’Hare (ORD)||14,858||19,460||20,426||24,477|
|Shanghai Pudong (PVG)||8,422||14,578||14,538||16,025|
Airport Benchmark Overview — On-Time Performance
From an overall point of view, there’s no clear trend regarding airports’ on-time performance. However, there’s a clear difference between Chinese and U.S. airports. Whereas U.S. airports maintain a relatively high on-time performance on average, the Chinese perform very badly.
|Los Angeles (LAX)||87.8||89.7||90.4||85.1|
|Chicago O’Hare (ORD)||80.5||89.7||92.0||90.8|
|Shanghai Pudong (PVG)||68.0||77.2||77.9||65.6|
Airport Benchmark Overview — Cancellations
Similar to on-time performance, U.S. airports show a better performance in terms of cancellations than Chinese airports.
|Los Angeles (LAX)||4.3||1.3||0.3|
|Chicago O’Hare (ORD)||4.5||1.3||0.3|
|Shanghai Pudong (PVG)||26.5||6.9||3.9|
Atlanta (ATL), United States
As the world’s largest airport in terms of flights, Atlanta shows substantial growth over the observed 4-month period. The airport grew its traffic by ~40%, from ~22,000 flights in February to ~29,000 in May. Except for February, with a high number of cancellations, the airport has a solid performance in punctuality and cancellations.
Guangzhou (CAN), China
After massive growth of flight traffic in March, Guangzhou remained at the level of ~20,000 monthly flights. On-time performance and cancellations show an interesting picture at the Chinese airport. Although the number of cancellations is way above average each month, February and May negatively stand out with more than 16% cancellation rates. On-time performance steadily decreased since May to a poor value of 47% in May 2021.
Chongqing (CKG), China
Chongqing’s performance is similar to Guangzhou: An increase in traffic in March and similar figures in April and May. On-time performance and cancellation graphics look similar, although Chongqing was able to operate slightly better than Guangzhou.
Charlotte (CLT), United States
Charlotte shows one of the best results of this airport benchmark. The airport was able to manage a solid and continuous growth during the observed period. Moreover, on-time performance was outstanding in each month. And expect February, the cancellation rate was extremely low (0.2% – 0.3%).
Chengdu (CTU), China
At Chengdu, we can see the typical Chinese performance picture again. Enormous flight growth in March, with continuously decreasing on-time performance and extremely high cancellation rates in February and May.
Denver (DEN), United States
Denver is one of the rare U.S. airports of this ranking, with an average on-time performance below 80%. On top of that, Denver recorded extraordinarily high cancellation rates in March (8.6%). The number of flights grew from 16,000 to 22,000 between February and May 2021.
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), United States
With a flight growth rate of almost 50% between February and May, Dallas is one of the fastest-growing airports of this benchmark. Except for February, on-time performance was at an acceptable level. However, in February, the airport had to record massive cancellations (14.7%).
Tokyo Haneda (HND), Japan
Tokyo Airport’s charts are definitely one of the most fascinating of this airport benchmark. In February, the airport recorded an extremely poor OTP of 48%, while almost 50% of flights were canceled. Accordingly, the chances to get on a flight in Tokyo on time were pretty low. However, the airport was able to increase OTP and stabilize above 90%. Nevertheless, the cancellation rate remained high (4% – 6%).
Los Angeles (LAX), United States
Los Angeles performs very well compared to other airports of this benchmark. The on-time performance is close to 90% each month, while cancellation rates are reduced from 4% to 0.2%. On the other side, the number of flights has constantly grown from 11,000 in February to 16,000 in May.
Chicago O’Hare (ORD), United States
Chicago’s performance is comparable to Los Angeles: Excellent on-time performance with values above 90%, while cancellation rate declines to 0.1%. On the other side, the number of flights has massively grown from 15,000 to almost 25,000.
Shanghai Pudong (PVG), China
At Shanghai Pudong Airport, we have the typical Chinese picture once again. Enormous flight growth in March, poor on-time performance, and cancellation rates in February and May.
Shenzhen (SZX), China
Shenzhen closes the benchmark with one of the poorest performances in terms of on-time performance. The airport recorded a steady OTP decline down to 50% in May. After an increase, the number of flights remained stable from March to May.
Airline Benchmark — What’s Your Opinion?
We’re always happy to get your feedback. Just leave a comment below or get in touch with the author on social media.
Data Source & Explanation: All information shown in this blog post is based on OAG data.