I reported quite a number of cancellations and delays lately.
I also realize that in doing so, although trying to be factual, I participate in the general perception that something ain't right
And that rings an old internal bell in me :
"You don't talk if you don't know, and you don't know if you don't measure
My own questions were around : is it true that "so many flights" are affected? Were the old birds more or less prone to delays?
So I took advantage of a (temporary) limited mobility to get after the facts. (fingers and what's between the ears seems to be in a reasonable shape, thank you).
I downloaded the raw data from FR24 for the last 365 days for each aircraft in the SN long haul fleet and worked a bit the numbers. Downloading by A/C tail number may result in some "Cancelled" status but that doesn't say if the flight had not been taken over by another aircraft.
So I discarded those cancelled ones, only imposing a fictional long delay (= departure at 23:59) when I really know those flights were actually scrubbed.
Consequently, a (large?) number of the cancellations are not included in my summary below.
I tried to produce a factual analysis. I am not bashing SN in anyways and if my attitude is biased, what I always strive to avoid, it may be more in favour than against SN.
As I posted before I have some understanding of what flight disruptions represent, of course in terms of passengers being affected but also for all those at SN who must face the consequences.
Here is what it boils down to.
Of course flight delays are only significant on arrival
but many stations do not produce data for FR24 to report. Also, in case of heavy delay on departure, decision is sometimes taken to "skip" a stopover such as a BRU-Accra-Lomé-Accra-BRU that becomes BRU-LFW-ACC-BRU. This has positive effects on subsequent operations by reducing the delay of the return flight but those Pax bound to ACC will suffer an additional delay. Besides, if the number of pax coming on board in LFW exceeds the number of empty seats (ACC Pax are still on board), you have even more affected passengers.
So I used the Actual Departure Time and I considered that less than 1 hour is "on the house". Even if it were to result in a full one hour delay on arrival, it is not so significant in long haul operations and if you planned a short connection in Africa you must really be a Msungu.
Moreover, sometimes the reason for the delay may not be in the hands of SN (I reported earlier that a number of passengers in transfer in BRU, arriving with another airline and staying in the lounge until the last moment, may not have the required visa. They are denied boarding and their luggage must be offloaded).
So I sorted the delays in 3 categories :
Light : 1 to 2 hours
Moderate : 2 to 3 hours
Severe : more than 3 hours (including some cancellations).
Here is the summary, including some retired birds.
Beware not to jump to hastily conclusions concerning SFF. Too few flights to be statistically significant.
I have not allowed myself to react upon these numbers, I would need to know how other airlines are doing to compare.
But what is your reaction?