A Multi-Agent Approach for Reactionary Delay Prediction of Flights

Yash Guleria, Qing Cai, Sameer Alam*, Lishuai Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Flight schedules are highly sensitive to delays and witness these events on a very frequent basis. In an interconnected and interdependent air transportation system, these delays can magnify and cascade as the flight itineraries progress, causing reactionary delays. The airlines, passengers and airports bear the negative economic implications of such phenomenon. The current research draws motivation from this behavior and develops a multi-agent based method to predict the reactionary delays of flights, given the magnitude of primary delay that the flights witness at the beginning of the itinerary. Every flight is modeled as an agent which functions in a dynamic airport environment, receives information about other agents and updates its own arrival and departure schedule. To evaluate the performance of the method, this paper carries out a case study on the flights in Southeast Asia, which covers eleven countries. The model is tested on a six-month ADS-B dataset that is collected for the calendar year 2016. Through the reactionary delay values predicted by the multi-agent based method, the flights are first classified as delayed or un-delayed in terms of departure. The classification results show an average accuracy of 80.7%, with a delay classification threshold of 15 minutes. Further, a delay multiplier index is evaluated, which is a ratio of the total delays (primary+reactionary delays) and the primary delays for each aircraft. The majority of delay multiplier values range between 1-1.5, which signifies that for except a few outliers, the primary delays do not significantly cascade into reactionary delays for the flights in Southeast Asia. The outliers represent scenarios where primary delays magnify and propagate as reactionary delays over subsequent flight legs. Therefore, the proposed method can assist in better flight scheduling by identifying itineraries which experience higher reactionary delays.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8924720
Pages (from-to)181565-181579
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • agent-based method
  • Air traffic management
  • ground delay analysis
  • reactionary delays
  • Southeast Asian airports


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