It is nowadays common that when we fly somewhere we have to take multiple flights, connecting between flights at hub airports. These stops, although in some cases inevitable or even convenient, are always a cause of stress. In case of a delay in the inbound flight, our connection can be compromised, resulting sometimes in a struggle to get a seat in the next flight and in a long wait for the replacement flight.
Airlines try to avoid this hassle by managing the delays as soon as they receive information about them. This usually happens prior to passengers landing at their hub airport. The task is to decide whether to delay subsequent flights in order to wait for the delayed passengers (and bags) or to have the flights departing on time. The decision must be carefully balanced, as imposing a delay on departing flights can have a major impact on the operating schedule of the airline and on the experience of other passengers also booked to the departing flight.
TU Delft helped Kenya Airways (KQ) to develop a decision making tool to support the daily delay management process. The results are promising, suggesting that KQ can reduce up to 10% their current delay related costs and a general reduction of passengers experienced delays.