3.56 - Evaluating Aircraft Turnaround Process in the Framework of Airport Design and Airline Behaviour

Project Description

This dissertation study attempts to identify the problems pertaining to the process of aircraft turnaround and ground handling. There are many variables that influence the process of aircraft turnaround, each of them contributing to the process in various ways and to different extents. Handling operations and aircraft turnaround are not independent of the facilities of the airport, as well as the airline itself. Therefore, this research study investigates the structure of the handling company, airline behaviours, as well as airport facilities, so as to define their role in aircraft turnaround.

Unfortunately, the unfolded chain of actions required in ground handling makes it difficult to analyze exactly which factors cause and also magnify the handling of delays. Therefore, decomposing the problem of delay could shed light on the characteristics of turnaround delays, as well as their patterns. There is currently an information and knowledge gap regarding the standards for handling operations and aircraft turnaround. This is because airlines usually tend not to picture and classify delay patterns in handling operations. Even though there are spoken approaches, there is no systematic way of picturing the correlations between handling delays and facts. In this study, the author is to identify the dominant patterns of effects on handling delays and correlations between causal effects, to see which combinations have the greatest impacts on delays and impact of airport facilities to handling delays.

This dissertation employs a mixed method design, first to picture trends and pattern of delays in Lisbon airport by Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA). A multiple correspondence analysis is employed by assigning a value to each category of effect, using the data from a sample of airlines offering services from Lisbon Airport, Portugal.

The findings suggest that a handling company can cause different delays for different airlines, depending on different reasons related to airport facilities. Those delay related problems could be local to the airport or to the airline. In addition to other delay causes, handling companies with combinations of airport related problems enhance the delays of airlines.

Research Team


  • Ayça Kolukisa
  • Álvaro Costa (supervisor)

George Mason University

  • Kenneth Button
Financial Support
  • FCT
Stage of Progress
  • Concluded in 2011