REV: APRIL 29, 2003
Delays at Logan Airport
It's our April break and we thought we'd do a cruise in addition to my brother's wedding. Instead, here we are sitting on the floor in Logan.
— Stranded Logan Airport Passenger
All the objections that have been raised have been answered. The goal of the runway is to reduce the windrelated delays. I would be very surprised if we build this runway and it does not reduce wind-related delays. The science is telling us it absolutely will.
— Former Massachusetts Governor Paul Cellucci
That runway will only postpone 20 percent of delays until Logan fills up again in a matter of time. Meanwhile, the neighborhoods of Boston will be smothered in noise. — Boston Mayor Thomas Menino
…even according to [Massport’s] own environmental impact statement, under one scenario, Peak Period Pricing does more than the new strip to reduce projected delays. And simply by using the self-sorting logic of the market. In short, it's a perfect conservative solution.
— The Boston Globe1
A recent study by the Airline Transport Association, an airline industry group, deemed U.S. airports to be “Approaching Gridlock.” In 2000, more than one in four flights—27%—were delayed, canceled or diverted, affecting approximately 163 million passengers. 2 And the problem is likely to get worse: The total number of yearly flights in the U.S. is projected to rise from almost 26 million in 2000 to 36 million in 2012.3 Consumer complaints to the Department of Transportation (DOT) quadrupled from 1995 to 2000 (from 6,000 to 23,000),4 with delays and missed connections being the most common source of frustration, comprising 40% of all complaints.5 Legislators have not been silent on the issue; after a recent report issued by the DOT detailed the rise in customer service problems, several bills were brought before Congress to address the issue, ranging from a bill making commitments made to customers enforceable by law to the passengers’ bill of rights legislation.6 With an average of 47.5 delays per 1,000 flights, Boston’s Logan Airport was ranked in 2001 as the fifth most significantly delayed airport in the country.7 Demand for the use of Logan was projected to increase from 479,000 annual operations (i.e., arrivals plus departures) in 2001 to anywhere from 510,000 to 656,000 annual operations in 2015, putting further pressure on local planning officials to find solutions for delays.8
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Doctoral Student George Batta prepared this case under the supervision of Associate Professor V.G. Narayanan. This case was developed from published sources. Special thanks are extended to Massport for its data. HBS cases are developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective management. Copyright © 2001 President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-545-7685, write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the permission of Harvard Business School.
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Delays at Logan Airport
History of Logan Airport
Construction of an airfield at Jeffries Point, East Boston, was completed in September 1923, for use primarily by the Massachusetts Air Guard and the Army Air Corp. Named after Lt. General Edward Lawrence Logan, Boston’s airport ran its first commercial flight, between Boston and New York, in 1927. By the late 1930’s, demand for air travel grew to the point that American...
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