The travel industry is losing an estimated $60 billion every year from disruptions such as strikes, bad weather and natural disasters.
A new report on flight disruption puts the figure at eight per cent of global industry revenues.
The report, Shaping the Future of Airline Disruption Management, produced by leading airline IT consultancy T2RL, also finds that disruption spreads “virally” throughout the travel ecosystem.
The knock-on impact of planes and crews not arriving as intended means highly optimised networks see further cancellations and delays, often from a relatively minor initial problem, the report finds.
Leading IT provider for the global travel industry, Amadeus, which commissioned the report, says flight disruption will become an increasingly expensive operational problem for airlines in the coming years as the number of annual air passengers are set to increase to 7.3bn by 2034.
The report also suggests that the industry is heading for a technology breakthrough.
“Increased motivation of airline board-rooms to invest in addressing disruption management, combined with increasing attention and promising initial proof-of-concepts from IT vendors, indicate a breakthrough is highly likely in coming years,” it says.
Moreover, it foresees increased collaboration between operations managers, airports and airline service companies: “In future,” it says, “even airlines that compete vigorously will work together during times of disruption.”
The principal consultant at T2RL, Ira Gershkoff, who authored the report, says 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,” she says. “What’s important is that service providers across the entire industry are collaborating to mitigate the impact on the traveller.”