Impact of Ground Handling on Air Traffic Volatility
Ground handling services constitute an important element of airline operations and significantly affect traffic stability and punctuality. In this article, the existing and potential impact of airline handling on air traffic volatility is reviewed from the point of view of airlines and ground operations. The issues of airline expectations towards ground handling agents (including handling rates, turnaround time, passenger services, and ramp services) are explored. In addition, the impact of an airline's schedule and the volatility of its operations on the performance and operational requirements of handling agents is discussed, including actions required by handling agents in response to the above challenges. The mechanism of how the volatility of an airline's schedule and its operations may impact the volatility of ground operations (directly and indirectly) is considered. The statistics of airline delays caused by ground operations are presented and discussed. The issue of the correctness of air traffic delays reporting by airlines is investigated. Furthermore, this article investigates internal factors of ground handling agents and their impact on air traffic volatility. The existing and potential considerations discussed include staff management issues (in particular, employee rotation resulting in staff shortages and service quality, including punctuality), resources management, the ground service support equipment (including new developments aiming at limiting ground safety incidents), and their impact on performance. (original abstract)
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