Analysis of delay causality at Newark International Airport
Determining causes of aviation delay is essential for formulating and evaluating approaches to reduce air traffic delays. An analysis was conducted of large weather-related delays at Newark International Airport (EWR), which, located in the heart of the congested northeast corridor of the United States, is an airport with a significant number of delays. Convective weather and reduced ceiling and visibility were found to be the leading contributors to large delays at EWR between September 1998 and August 2001. It was found that 41% of the cumulative arrival delay (delay relative to schedule) on days in this period averaging more than 15 minutes of delay per arrival occurred on days characterized by convective weather either within or at considerable distances from the New York terminal area. Of the remaining delays, 28% occurred on days characterized by low ceiling/visibility conditions, while 14% occurred on fair weather days with high surface winds, and 2% were caused by distant non-convective storms. Known causes other than weather accounted for 9% of the delays, and causes were unknown for 6%. When delay types (airborne, gate, taxi -out etc.) were categorized by the type of weather causing the delay, it was found that: (1) departure delays (gate + taxi-out) were much larger than arrival delays for thunderstorms in the NY terminal area and (2) taxi-out delays were the dominant type when delays were caused by distant convective weather. The fraction of total delay time explained by pre-planned Ground Delay Programs (GDP) rose sharply during 2000, accounting for over 40% of total the arrival delay that year, and then decreased slightly in 2001. On days with thunderstorms in the NY TRACON, arrival and departure delays were significantly higher during the year (2000) that GDPs were used most frequently.