The main aim of the study was to assess the influence of flight delays on business travellers. Studies on flight delays have been done from a number of perspectives; these include the reasons for flights delays, the costs to airlines and airports, the effect on airline scheduling and the impact on airline market share. An area that has received little, if any, attention is the impact of flight delays on business travellers, one of the most lucrative markets for airlines. This study empirically researches the direct cost of flight delays to travellers of a specific corporation. In addition, the use of mobile technology in communicating the occurrence of flight delays to business travellers, and how this could alleviate traveller frustrations, are discussed from a theoretical perspective. The study followed a quantitative methodology to determine man-hours lost and the direct costs of flight delays to travellers from a selected corporation. Two data sets were used, one provided by the corporation on flights undertaken by their corporate travellers over a predetermined period, the other by the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) on all flights over the same period. The two sets of data were matched and analysed to determine which flights undertaken by the corporate travellers were delayed, based on actual arrival times, and if any significant relationships could be determined between flight delays and types of traveller (frequent versus infrequent) or specific time periods (time of day, day, week and month). The results indicated that frequent travellers experienced the majority of flight delays, and consequently represented the greatest cost to the corporation. The study also found significant relationships between substantial delays and the month of the year, day of the week, and the time of day flown. The identification of patterns could provide business travellers with the information to better manage their travel arrangements and optimise their travel times and costs. In calculating the direct monetary cost, the value of time lost was found not to constitute a substantial amount to the corporation, but this result must be viewed against the limitations of the study. This study serves to provide a foundation for future research into the cost of flight delays to business travellers. Future research should include larger samples (large global or multiple companies could be used) and extend the time periods for assessing delays. Future studies could also include other direct and indirect costs not covered here and the study could be replicated in different geographical areas, particularly areas with a high density of flights such as Asia, the United States of America and Europe. Copyright
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2010.