Data & Statistics

U.S. Passenger Carrier Delay Costs

May 24, 2023

In 2022, the average cost of aircraft block (taxi plus airborne) time for U.S. passenger airlines was $101.18 per minute. Fuel expense, the largest line item, rose 87 percent to $42.15 per minute. Labor costs, the second largest line item, rose three percent to $28.99 per minute. Maintenance expense rose six percent and aircraft ownership declined 13 percent, while all other costs rose 27 percent.

Calendar Year 2022 Direct Aircraft Operating Cost per Block Minute YOY ∆%
Crew – Pilots/Flight Attendants $28.99 3.0
Fuel 42.15 87.3
Maintenance 15.75 6.1
Aircraft Ownership 10.50 -12.9
Other 3.79 26.8
Total Direct Operating Costs $101.18 25.7

Note: costs based on DOT Form 41 data for U.S. scheduled passenger airlines

Additional Costs

Delayed aircraft are estimated to have cost the airlines several billion dollars in additional expense. Delays also drive the need for extra gates and ground personnel and impose costs on airline customers (including shippers) in the form of lost productivity, wages and goodwill.

Assuming $47 per hour* as the average value of a passenger’s time, flight delays are estimated to have cost air travelers billions of dollars. FAA/Nextor estimated the annual costs of delays (direct cost to airlines and passengers, lost demand, and indirect costs) in 2018 to be $28 billion.


ATC delays, especially enroute delays, prevail in many parts of the national airspace system. Moreover, our airport and airway infrastructure can not be scaled to meet future demand as anticipated in the FAA aerospace forecasts . In addition to new runways, the deployment of modern ATC technologies and changes to operational procedures are critical to the nation’s air system and the economy.

* FAA-recommended value:

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