J6.5 The Value of a TAF Aviation Forecasting Cost Impacts

Thursday, 14 January 2016: 9:30 AM
Room 355 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Rick Curtis, Southwest Airlines, Dallas, TX; and A. Krull, E. Fenelon, K. Fryar, E. A. Wildgrube, and M. Muehlman

Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAFs) provide aviators with critical weather information for airports and air force bases. Commercial, private and military aviators rely on TAFs to make safe and cost-effective decisions during flight planning. Adverse weather conditions at airports may necessitate an air traffic management initiative, which will cause delays when scheduled operations exceed capacity. Adverse weather conditions also result in diversions, reroutes and cancellations, all which come at an expense. Extra costs associated with these irregular operations often include increased fuel usage, increased crew time and aircraft utilization, as well as customer dissatisfaction, flight misconnects, and refunds. The National Weather Service in Chicago (NWS Chicago), Southwest Airlines, and Delta Airlines have teamed to try to more accurately measure the monetary value that TAFs have in relation to airline operations. NWS TAF accuracy was compared with airline strategic and operational flight planning during a late spring 2015 fog event in Chicago. This analysis produced a dollar value on the collective TAFs issued during the event. Last year a similar study was conducted comparing TAF accuracy with a major snowfall event in Chicago to determine the financial implications of proactive airline decision making. The finding from this fog event will be used to evaluate a more routine weather scenario while continuing to try to identify more optional means to identify both the TAF impact and monetary value. All parties involved with this study will look to use the findings to improve TAF verification impact criteria and airline proactive decision making efforts.
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