Impact of short- to medium-haul aircraft block time changes on airline yields


According to various studies, significant reductions of mission fuel burn might be achieved by lowering cruise speeds using different aircraft technologies. The change of cruise speed will have an impact on aircraft operations, mainly on block times, airline networks and hence a possible impact on airline yields. Therefore, this paper describes the effect of changed block times on passenger demand and airline yields. The used methodology is based on the discrete choice theory and is applied to simulate passenger choice in airline networks using 2004 data from the US airline market. With a change of cruise speeds and corresponding block times, analyses showed an increase of average yields by +2 % with a decrease of block times by −10 %. With an increase of block times by +20 %, a decrease of average yields by −4 % was identified. Also non-linearities between changes of yields and load factors could be observed. Changes to yields are heavily depending on origin–destination (OD) characteristics and are mainly driven by available flight alternatives.

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Air traffic management


Block time


Bureau of Transportation Statistics


Airline origin and destination survey


Cost of ownership


Cruise speed reduction


Direct operating cost


European Commission


Frequent flyer program


Mach number


Minimum connecting time


Minimum ground time


National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Official Airline Guide




Open rotor




United States


Value of time


Willingness to pay


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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kay O. Plötner.

Additional information

This paper is based on a presentation at the German Aerospace Congress, September 16–18, 2014, Augsburg, Germany.



See Tables 4 and 5.

Table 4 IATA Airline Code
Table 5 ICAO Airport three letter code

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Plötner, K.O., Schmidt, M., Röhm, T. et al. Impact of short- to medium-haul aircraft block time changes on airline yields. CEAS Aeronaut J 6, 599–611 (2015).

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  • Value of time
  • Operating cost
  • Discrete choice
  • Passenger behaviour
  • Aircraft design
  • Airline operation