Potential on-time performance improvements at the Lufthansa Station at Frankfurt Airport : a human factors approach : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Aviation at Massey University, Auckland (Albany), New Zealand
Departure punctuality has increasingly gained attention over the last few years. This development is due to the realization what important role this issue plays in the economics of the airline industry. Punctuality is not just a sound performance indicator but also allows airlines to differentiate themselves from their competitors. In addition the issue holds a significant potential for cost savings.
For this reason many airlines have started special programmes to improve their punctuality performance, and so did Lufthansa. However, despite this increasing attention, outbound punctuality levels have not yet reached satisfactory levels. Therefore, this study aimed at contributing to this process by identifying potential ontime performance improvements at the Lufthansa station at Frankfurt Airport.
As an underlying framework, a Human Factors approach was chosen. Central issues in the focus of the study were the individual perceptions and attitudes towards punctuality by the relevant front line staff. In order to examine these issues a survey among the Flight Managers, Assistant Flight Managers, and Section leaders was carried out. The results of this survey were then put into correlation with the delay statistics published.
The results of the survey indicate a potential lack of communication among the front line staff as well as between them and higher organizational entities. Moreover, certain distrust towards the delay statistics became evident. Although the staff members seem quite well motivated, they feel a lack of commitment by their superiors. In addition, the survey gathered some interesting ideas for punctuality improvements held by the front line staff members.
Besides very concrete topics for discussion, the central outcome of the study was the recommendation to analyze all relevant processes at the Lufthansa station from a Human Factors perspective in order to improve the communicative situation. Moreover, the study suggests introducing appropriate incentive schemes in order to promote better on-time performance. Altogether these should result in a noticeable improvement of the punctuality situation at the Lufthansa station.