18  Turnaround time



18.2 Description

The values presented in Table 18.1 are computed from data supplied by airlines to EUROCONTROL CODA. It includes the data on the following market segments: traditional scheduled, low-cost and charter.

The total ground time of an aircraft includes overnight stops, maintenance slots, fire breaks, etc., so specific cut-off values are applied to obtain the turnaround time. The turnaround cut-off time for wake turbulence category H (Heavy) is 180 minutes, and for M (Medium) 150 minutes.

The actual turnaround time represents the difference between the actual off-block time (AOBT) of a departing flight and the actual in-block time (AIBT) of the same aircraft on the previous inbound flight. The scheduled turnaround time is the difference between scheduled time of departure (STD) of the departing flight and the scheduled time of arrival (STA) of the same aircraft on the previous inbound flight.

18.3 Other possible values

Table 18.2 presents, for 2019, an overview of turnaround time ranges for the 10th (Low), 50th (Base) and 90th (High) percentiles.

Table 18.2:

Turnaround time ranges, in minutes, in 2022

Aircraft category Low Base High
Heavy 67 106 168
Medium 31 52 93
Heavy 60 90 150
Medium 25 45 80
Source: EUROCONTROL – Computed from data supplied by the airline members to CODA


Turnaround time and ground time typically vary as a function of:

  • the airport

  • the type of flight (short, medium or long-haul)

  • the market segment (traditional scheduled airline, low-cost, business aviation, etc.)

  • the type of aircraft (B738, A320, etc.)

  • the type of service (charter, scheduled, positioning, etc.)

The turnaround process involves activities related to the handling of tasks to ensure the cleanliness, safety and efficiency of the next flight. The difference between a turnaround and ground time is that an aircraft at its home base airport will have longer ground time to cover for example for the time it needs for maintenance. The diagram below shows the scope of the various activities, including ground handling time.1

Figure 18.1: Overview of activities involved in turnaround process

18.6 References

EUROCONTROL CODA, MIRROR tool.” [Online]. Available: https://www.eurocontrol.int/tool/mirror

  1. An exhaustive definition and list of the ground handling services is given in Council Directive 96/67/EC of 15 October 1996 on access to the ground handling market at Community airports↩︎