United and American in recent months have been rearranging their mainline schedules at some major hubs into clusters (or “banks”) of arrivals and departures at certain times of the day instead of spreading them out evenly, and a new study says this process could make it more difficult for regional carriers to operate on time.
The process is called rebanking, because it represents a return to the scheduling practices that the legacy airlines used to follow before 9/11, according to the study by masFlight, a firm that specializes in airline business intelligence data.
“Rebanking reduces flight frequency from small to medium-sized cities,” masFlight said. “Regional flights arrive before and depart after scheduled flight banks, adding longer wait times for connecting passengers in hub airports. In contrast, passengers traveling on mainline carriers enjoy more connecting opportunities and reduced wait time between flights. Increased aircraft turn times will mean less productivity and more cost. Regionals will experience higher cancellation rates as airlines recover from delays.”
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The company noted that American has been rebanking flights at Miami and Dallas/Ft. Worth, and United has done the same at Chicago O’Hare and Washington Dulles. In tracking operations at those hubs, masFlight said that the turnaround time for regional aircraft from 2014 to 2015 has increased by 13 minutes at O’Hare and 8 minutes at Miami.
“The study shows that industry consolidation is the reason why airlines have started re-banking and are moving away from the continuous rolling hub scheduling model that was adopted post 9/11; while dispersing manpower and equipment helped airlines to contain costs, the subsequent decrease in feasible connections negatively impacted revenue potential,” masFlight said.
Have you noticed that your flight on smaller planes are experiencing bigger delays?
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