2.5 Weather impact on punctuality at Frankfurt Airport (Germany) - A statistical study

Monday, 4 October 2004: 2:15 PM
Thomas Hauf, University of Hannover, Hannover, Germany; and U. Spehr

Frankfurt Airport is the largest hub in Germany with about 1250 daily operations and is operated close to its nominal capacity, under fair weather conditions even above. Generally, punctuality may serve as an overall measure of the operational efficiency of an airport and its temporal change can be used to identify and quantify the weather impact, among other efficiency controlling factors. Punctuality is defined here as the daily percentage of all scheduled flights with less than 15 minutes delay. In this study we report from the first quantitative study on the weather impact at Frankfurt airport, where the adverse weather elements and their respective influence are determined. We used daily punctuality data from two years together with weather data from the site. After having excluded some days with obvious, non-meteorological impacts (strike, technical failure etc), a multiple linear regression model was applied to determine the relation between the daily punctuality values and various weather elements. An iterative procedure with backward selection allowed to determine the 29 most relevant and significant weather factors and also their contribution to the punctuality fluctuations. The latter may reach values as low as 21% while the average punctuality is 77.2%. We found quite surprisingly that ~ 50 % of the fluctuations are due to weather with the average (maximum) deviation between modelled and observed data being 5.1% (19 %). Weather, therefore, is a major factor controlling the daily punctualities at Frankfurt Airport and its impact can be described, at least in a statistical sense, quite satisfactorily. Based on conventional weather model output data, the statistical model may in turn be used to forecast the daily punctualities for the next days.

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