Irregular operations can have a significant impact on airline costs, particularly direct costs. Irregular operations can also cause serious damage to an airline’s image and reputation, especially when amplified through social media, and the cost of negative passenger sentiment is not duly considered.
Major carriers have already spent millions on sophisticated systems to automate their responses to delays and cancellations. The true impact of irregular operations is highlighted as the industry realises the monetary and reputational affect this has for the brand.
The true impact of irregular operations can be summarised as follows:
Passengers Define Journey Disruptions: The terms “delay” and “cancellation” reflect the state of a given aircraft. From a passenger perspective, a journey disruption simply means any change from the original scheduled itinerary or booked service. Missing an important business meeting would be considered a major journey disruption, even if the passenger was seamlessly re-accommodated by the airline.
Hidden Revenue Impact: Passenger journey disruptions carry hidden revenue impacts – there may be a significant load factor impact when travellers find alternate transportation. Passengers who turn to social media in response to a trip disruption can influence others, impacting revenues in ways that are not currently measured.
Government Actions: Influenced by consumer groups, governments will continue to introduce consumer protection measures. Airlines need to be one step ahead of government legislation and proactively provide the always-connected traveller with accurate information about delays and cancellations, empowering passengers to control their options.
Cross-Carrier Re-Accommodation: Moving a passenger to a competitor airline is often viewed as a last resort and represents a significant challenge for airline legacy systems. If finding a passenger a seat on another airline enables the traveller to fulfill the intended travel purpose closer to the original scheduled arrival time, passenger sentiment may actually be improved.
Regional Differences: Irregular operations differ from region to region. In a survey earlier this year, China had the highest number of respondents (35%) who stated that they would “avoid booking the airline whenever possible” due to irregular operations.
Airlines with intelligent, customer-centric solutions will empower their passengers and staff to focus on the journey experience in a positive light.
Director, Sub-Saharan Africa