Delay causality and reduction at the New York City airports using terminal weather information systems
Adverse weather accounts for the bulk of the aviation delays at the major New York City airports. In this report, we quantify: 1. Aviation delay reduction with an Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) that incorporates the 30-60 minute predictions of convective storms generated by the Terminal Convective Weather Forecast (TCWF) algorithm, 2. Principal causes of aviation delays with the ITWS in operation, and 3. The extent to which the current delays are "avoidable". We find that improved decision making by the New York FAA users of ITWS provides an annual delay reduction of over 49,000 hours per year with a monetary value of over $150,000,000 per year. Convective weather was found to be the leading contributor to delays at Newark International Airport (EWR) between September 1998 and August 2000. It was found that 40% of the arrival delay in this study occurred in association with delay days characterized by convective weather both within and at considerable distances from the New York terminal area. Of the remaining delay, 27% occurred on days characterized by low ceiling/visibility conditions, while 16% occurred on fair weather days with high surface winds. We also concluded that many of the delays which occur with the current ITWS, over $1,500,000 in one case, could be avoided if the ITWS were extended to provide: 1. Predictions of thunderstorm decay, and 2. Predictions of the onset and ending of capacity limiting events such as low ceilings or high surface winds. These delay causality results are very important for studies of the effectiveness of changes made to the U.S. aviation system to reduce delays at airports such as Newark as well as for prioritizing FAA research and development expenditures.