The Price We Pay for a Getaway

Fines for travel disruptions could create more baggage for airlines.

Luggage on airport conveyor belt

It is well-known that the cost of downtime in transportation heavily impacts both travelers and providers. The aviation industry is affected frequently by outages, with these stories typically making headlines that highlight their damaging negative impacts. 

During a peak holiday travel period last year, for example, Southwest experienced a multiday outage, which it reported would result in “…a pre-tax hit of $725 to $825 million to quarterly earnings…” when the airlines previously had forecast a strong profit. If that was not bad enough, Southwest saw its shares plummet 2.8 percent following the outage as consumer faith in the airline’s reliability was shaken. The impact of disruptions of this magnitude will be felt long after they are resolved, with revenue losses from this specific event expected to be “…between $400 million and $425 million.”

Heavier Regulations on the Horizon?

The negative impact of a “tech meltdown” in the aviation industry is relentless. Airline network outages often result in software failures and degradations of applications critical to flight staffing and scheduling, ticketing operations, baggage handling, and more. Disruption of applications hosted in data centers and colocations can be detrimental not only to airline crew members and employees but also to valued customers. Technology performance issues caused Southwest to cancel nearly 17,000 flights over the 10-day span of its outage last year, with the glaring negative impact evident from its report of $220 million lost in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been criticized for years for its failure to advance technology and modernize aviation operations. Now, government bodies have begun to discuss implementing heavier regulations for the aviation industry. Major system failures have led to the proposition of a federal office to oversee technology and operations. Should delays or cancellations occur that are within a carrier’s control or deemed avoidable, there would be potential for regulatory fines to compensate travelers inconvenienced by those disruptions. This compensation would not be limited to monetary funds, but also may come in the form of travel accommodations (including lodging and ground transport) and meal vouchers.

Smooth Takeoffs with Clear Visibility

The cost of downtime in the aviation industry is crippling, impacting passengers and airlines significantly as they work to pick up the pieces and reroute their trips. NETSCOUT nGenius Enterprise Performance Management solutions can help avoid these outages by providing end-through-end visibility into the network and application performance of major airlines. Powered by patented Adaptive Service Intelligence (ASI) technology, NETSCOUT solutions leverage deep-packet inspection at scale needed to analyze performance data. Real-time, actionable insights and synthetic testing via solutions such as nGeniusPULSE help proactively detect the root cause of slowdowns and degradations to prevent widespread disruption.

Learn more about how NETSCOUT solutions are helping companies in the aviation industry prevent outages and protect their reputation.