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How Long Does It Take An Aircraft To Turn Around?  
User currently offlineOverseasBHX From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 123 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 6 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 17312 times:

I've sometimes read that turnaround times have/can become deciding issues for an air carrier to choose (or not) a type of plane. Who specifies the turnaround time for a given type of aircraft? The manufacturer? The operator? What factors determine the turnaround? At which point does the turnaround time begin to count: at the moment of landing or when the doors have been opened?

Any comments on the subject will be most welcome, as well as specific info on the following types: 717-200, 737-600, 757-200 and 777-200. It goes without saying that data on other types is just as welcome.

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 8288 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (12 years 6 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 17260 times:

There has been a number of discussions on this subject on this forum.

The fastest I know of is around 20 minutes for 124 passengers, which is the time allotted by Southwest Airlines (WN) to turn around their 737-300 and 737-700 planes. My guess is that both EasyJet (U2) and RyanAir (FR) have not much longer turnaround times, mostly because the European low-cost carriers carry more passengers per plane.

For larger planes, I've heard about 35-40 minutes for a 757-200, about 90 minutes for long-range airliners in the A340-200/300 category, and anywhere between 120 and 180 minutes for a 747 (Virgin Atlantic (VS) allots about 180 minutes to turn around a 747-400).

User currently offlineOverseasBHX From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 123 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (12 years 6 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 17222 times:

Does the same timescale apply for aircraft of full-service companies? And what about time alloted to stops en-route? Thanks again, I'm taking notes.

User currently offlineLeezyjet From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 4049 posts, RR: 52
Reply 3, posted (12 years 6 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 17196 times:

The clock starts ticking from the moment the a/c is "on chocks" meaning the time it arrives at the gate.

At VS we have 2:30 for a B744, 2:15 for A346 and 2:00 for A343, they are the minimum turnround times that are needed to perform all aspects of the turnround fully. A majority of flights do actually have more time than this, however if the flight is running late we sometimes try and turn the a/c in 90 mins, this means that we will not clean the a/c as fully as in the normal turnround, however to most pax they probably wouldn't be able to tell much difference, but due to the extra security since 11/9 we don't usually manage it in the 90 mins unless the i/b and o/b flights are pretty empty, but any time saved from the minimum is a bonus.

At Bmi, we had 37mins for a B735, 40mins for a B733 and 43 mins for a B734. We got 45mins for an A320, and 50mins for an A321.


"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
User currently offlineStarFlyer From Germany, joined Sep 2002, 987 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (12 years 6 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 17193 times:

What is the turn around time of a long haul aircraft that has arrived back at the base, say a BA 747 at LHR, a LH 747 at FRA, a SQ 747 at SIN? How long before it goes on its next outbound flight? Is that any different from the turnaround at the destination?

Yours truly - StarFlyer
User currently offlineFLY777UAL From United States of America, joined May 1999, 4512 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (12 years 6 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 17166 times:

Boeing has some very good planning manuals available to the public through their website.


Click on the respective aircraft type and then on "Terminal Servicing".

F L Y 7 7 7 U A L

User currently offlineCmckeithen From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 617 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (12 years 6 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 17127 times:

I have seen them turn a plane around in as little as 15mins. I was waiting for my outbound CO flight at YVR when I see an 11:45am Air Canada flight set to depart to Anchorage, AK. The plane was late in landing a pulled into the gate around 11:30am and was ready for pushback at 11:40am. When I got home, I looked at Air Canada's' departures from YVR that day, and it showed that this flight took off on time.

Amazing how they do it!

User currently offlineFrntman From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 212 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (12 years 6 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 17073 times:

From a coordination standpoint in a hub, we track all the flights that may be running behind schedule.

You can't make people disembark any faster than they can physically move. (Although there have been many times I would have loved to provide a little extra assistance).

For instance on a 132 passenger A319, if I have a crew that does not have a flight for another hour, I will assign them to work the late arriving flight so both the forward and aft bins can be simultaneously offloaded. The previously staged outbound bags will be immediately loaded as prescribed by the load planner by the additional crew as well. While this is ongoing, the flight attendants and cabin cleaners are preparing the cabin. Toward the end of the cleaning, the pre-board passengers are brought on board and then general boarding is commenced with the reminder that we are vigilantly attempting to get the aircraft out as quickly as possible.

Passengers usually get the drift. But sometimes......you just can't fix stupid.

All in all about 30-35 mins.

User currently offlineAloha73g From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2401 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (12 years 6 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 17051 times:

Aloha and Hawaiian take about 20 mins to turn around for each interisland flight. Aloha uses 737-200s and Hawaiian uses 717-200s.


Aloha Airlines - The Spirit Moves Us. Gone but NEVER Forgotten. Aloha, A Hui Hou!
User currently offlineAirchabum From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 769 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (12 years 6 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 17008 times:

I used to work for Caledonian (UK charter carrier) and we used to plan 1hr at base (50mins downroute) for the A320 (180 pax) or 1hr 15 for the L1011 (393 pax)

I now work for VS and it takes ages to turn our a/c round (see Leezyjet's post). I flew on a Cathay A340 recently and they scheduled a 1hr 15 turnaround in AKL which they managed quite easily.

Biggidy biggidy bong
User currently offlineCanadaEH From Canada, joined Jul 2003, 1341 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (12 years 6 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 16992 times:

Westjet schedules 25-30 minute turns for all 737-200 and 737-700 flights. However, when a flight arrives late, its very normal to see a 15-20 minute turn with 120-140 pax on and off. I've worked on a flight and turned an aircraft in 9 minutes - not heavy mind you, 90 pax on and off. Still something to be proud of though  Smile

User currently offlineTheGov From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 423 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (12 years 6 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 16894 times:

After being away for an airline for over 8 years, my memory is not totally gone, but here is what I can remember about turn times at the hub station where I worked:

Through flights always had the least amount of time built in their schedules. 737-200 about 20 mins, 727-200 about 25 mins, 757-200 about 30 mins. But, a number of things came into play when it came time to actually work the flight. Some things like cargo loads, fuel loads, mtc. checks, catering, etc. could always cause you to run into a delay. Many times the fuel load was what kept me from making my turn time on a fast turnaround.

Terminating/originating flights had more time. 767-300 about 50 mins. I think this was due to the fact that there were more mtc issues that needed to be addressed at our hub station or perhaps just because it was a terminating flight. Also, more cleaning was done and sometimes the caterers would be pulling more equipment off of a terminating a/c.

But, the biggest variable was the passengers. Even if everybody worked like a well oiled team and could turn a fully loaded 767 in 30 minutes, the passengers would always manage to screw it up. They always wanted to leave on time but when it came to cooperating during the boarding process, they had literally no concept of time. I saw more than one quick turn blown to hell because some self-important business type insisted on carrying on the biggest piece of luggage he could find and board his seat in row 10 when rows 30-40 were being called. And then he would have the nerve to complain that we didn't try hard enough.

Always a pallbearer, never a corpse.
User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6210 posts, RR: 11
Reply 12, posted (12 years 6 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 16859 times:

WN used to have an ad on their website advertising a "10 minute turnaround" for their 737s. It's an older ad that was archived as late as last year, but I can't seem to find the ad now.

Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offlineNorthStarDC4M From Canada, joined Apr 2000, 3154 posts, RR: 34
Reply 13, posted (12 years 6 months 4 days ago) and read 16835 times:

Someone once told me the turnaround time on a 737-200 was 7 man hours... so 1 guy can do it in 7 hours, 7 guys in 1, 14 in 30 minutes, notice, this includes all paperwork, passenger unloading and loading, cleaning, baggage, fueling, walkaround, etc...

So counting the normal gate crew for a typical 737 class airliner:

2 Flight crew
3 Flight Attendants
1 Dispatcher
1-3 Bagsmashers
1 ground mechanic
1 "blue tanker"
1-2 caterers
1-2 Fuelers
1-3 cleaners (rare nowadays)
1-3 Customer Service agents (yes i count them too, they do have parts to play)

thats at least 14, yes i realise some of those positions might not be present at all airports, but still its an interesting point...

Also another point, alot of airlines do not do full turns at outstations, instead they double stock the flight at the hub for the return trip. They may also not dump the lavs, take on as much fuel (they will overtank at the hub, depending on weight allowances of course) or do a complete cleaning. This is especially true of regional flights. Whenever i see a Jazz Dash 8 here, 15 minutes is a typical turn, and ive seen it done in less. Engine shutdown, Pax and bags off, fuel, bags on, pax on, paperwork done. Engine Start... no catering, no cleaning besides what the F/A can do in that time. Then again, YYZ-YYB is only a 50 minute flight each way.

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
User currently offlineFlpuck6 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 2123 posts, RR: 27
Reply 14, posted (12 years 6 months 4 days ago) and read 16799 times:

For Air France it depends on the station. At some stations, where the aircraft has to tow between arrival and departure terminals, it's longer. Where there is no tow, it's shorter. For example, where I am, we are allowed maximum 2:35 for a 744/A343/777, 2:25 for a 330 (we tow between arrival/departure terminals). These times are from bloc to bloc. So if an aircraft arrives at 15:00, we have until 17:35 to get it back out, otherwise we have to explain why we could not do it within our allowed ground time.

At stations where there is no tow it's somewhere between 1:45/1:55 for "smaller" widebodies (A330/A340) and 2 hours flat for a 777/744.

[Edited 2003-08-13 05:55:29]

Bonjour Chef!
User currently offlineCaptaink From Mexico, joined May 2001, 5116 posts, RR: 11
Reply 15, posted (12 years 6 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 16764 times:

All our Dash 8 flights in the southern caribbean have a general turnaround time of 15min. Sometimes it is real drama to get the flight out on time. 1 min delay would result in a delay report, something we all try to avoid. We have given some flights 5 min or less turn arounds. Our airport is built in away that we can allow boading passengers to pass the gate and go in the opposite direction to deplaning passengers but they won't mix.

Jets that don't clean and cater get about 30-35 min turnaround. eg JM A320, BW 738.

Narrow body flgihts to the US, turn around in 60min. This includes, cleaning, catering and security inspection, prior to boarding.

Widebody Jets transatlantic, 160-180 mins for flights that clean and cater.

There is something special about planes....
User currently offlineCancidas From Poland, joined Jul 2003, 4112 posts, RR: 10
Reply 16, posted (12 years 6 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 16748 times:

is there a record? i can turn around a C172 in less then 5 minutes! Big grin (providing the fuel truck guys are not sleeping, a rare event.)  Nuts

"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
User currently offlineOverseasBHX From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 123 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (12 years 6 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 16592 times:

Thanks ever so much to all of you guys for the interesting data you've posted in reply to my question. Fascinating to find out about the little (and not so little) details involved in the turnaround phase. Do feel free to add more if you feel so inclined. I shall be having a look regularly for a while.


User currently offlineUpsmd11 From United States of America, joined May 2003, 823 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (12 years 6 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 16556 times:

I have often wondered this myself. I know that most US carriers and EU carriers who fly across the Atlantic have their aircraft sit for a few hours before turning around and heading back in the other direction. And if I'm not wrong this happens on both ends.

But on the flights to Brazil I've noticed that the flights have the aircraft sitting most of the day in GIG or GRU (for Brazil). Does anybody know if this is because of low traffic or just timing of slots, etc.?

I have flown to Brazil on Transbrasil when they were around and our flight back to JFK from GRU was an all day flight but I also have been on Varig through a night flight. It seems the US carriers only do night flights.


User currently offlineCancidas From Poland, joined Jul 2003, 4112 posts, RR: 10
Reply 19, posted (12 years 6 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 16493 times:

when it comes to having planes sit, i think it applies to JFK defiantely. if i'm not mistaken, international arrivals are scheduled in the mornings while departures are in the eveneings.

"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
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