Airline Schedule Recovery after Airport Closures: Empirical Evidence Since September 11th
Nicholas G. Rupp
George M. Holmes
Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, repeated airport closures due to potential security breaches have imposed substantial costs on travelers, airlines, and government agencies in terms of flight delays and cancellations. Using data from the year following September 11th, this study examines how airlines recover flight schedules upon reopening of airports that have been closed for security reasons. As such, this is the first study to examine service quality during irregular operations. Our results indicate that while outcomes of flights scheduled during airport closures are difficult to explain, a variety of factors, including potential revenue per flight and logistical variables such as flight distance, seating capacity and shutdown severity, significantly predict outcomes of flights scheduled after airports reopen. Given the likelihood of continued security-related airport closings, understanding the factors that determine schedule recovery is potentially important.
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