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Title: Airline mitigation of propagated delays via schedule buffers : theory and empirics
Authors: Brueckner, JK
Czerny, AI 
Gaggero, AA
Issue Date: Jun-2021
Source: Transportation research. Part E, Logistics and transportation review, June 2021, v. 150, 102333
Abstract: This paper presents an extensive theoretical and empirical analysis of the choice of schedule buffers by airlines. With airline delays a continuing problem around the world, such an undertaking is valuable, and its lessons extend to other passenger transportation sectors. One useful lesson from the theoretical analysis of a two-flight model is that the mitigation of delay propagation is done entirely by the ground buffer and the second flight's buffer. The first flight's buffer plays no role because the ground buffer is a perfect, while nondistorting, substitute. In addition, the apportionment of mitigation responsibility between the ground buffer and the second flight's buffer is shown to depend on the relationship between the costs of ground- and flight-buffer time. The empirical results show the connection between buffer magnitudes and a host of explanatory variables, including the variability of flight times, which simulations of the model identify as an important determining factor.
Keywords: Airline scheduling
Delay propagation
Flight buffer
Ground buffer
Publisher: Pergamon Press
Journal: Transportation research. Part E, Logistics and transportation review 
ISSN: 1366-5545
EISSN: 1878-5794
DOI: 10.1016/j.tre.2021.102333
Rights: © 2021 The Author(s).
Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
The following publication Jan K. Brueckner, Achim I. Czerny, Alberto A. Gaggero, Airline mitigation of propagated delays via schedule buffers: Theory and empirics, Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Volume 150, 2021, 102333, ISSN 1366-5545 is available at
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