Holiday period = late night flights
The start of the holiday season has confirmed my gloomy predictions for the last inbound Lisbon flight to arrive after midnight. There have also been some surprisingly late departures.
I already predicted a couple of months ago that the newly scheduled final incoming flight of TAP, due in from Lisbon at 11h35 pm and allowed by an uncaring airport management, would very probably have some delays beyond midnight. Since July 1 such delays have already happened twice (Sunday 1 July and Wednesday 4 July), so more can be expected. If they are a little later then the airport management will have to find a plausible reason to allow a landing after 0h30. Of course, these flights pay no lateness surcharge!
I did, on behalf of ARAG, protest to the official Swiss confederation office, OFAC, about the lateness if this scheduling. Their reply, which you may consult here, gives some rather spurious reasons (almost certainly dictated to them by Geneva airport management) for the scheduling. It concludes by stating that the scheduling of this flight, even so late at night, is completely normal and acceptable. That, of course, opens wide the door to more such late scheduling in the future: scheduling which would not be permissible in Zurich!
Slightly more surprising has been the relatively high number of departures after 11 pm of regular flights scheduled before 10 pm. Two particular flights and destinations, Swiss to Moscow and easyJet to Liverpool, seem particularly prone to delay. Those of Swiss flight LX1338 to Moscow Domodedovo airport might (Sunday 1 July and Monday 2 July) be just one-off (or two-off!) incidents: on at least one of these it looks as if the aircraft incoming from Moscow could not return there, so Swiss had to fly in a reserve aircraft from Zurich.
The case of the easyJet UK flight EZY7286 to Liverpool at 9h50 pm is not so easy to explain. It has taken off after 11 pm five times since the start of June, including twice in July, so one can suspect that the easyJet UK scheduling is somewhere a little optimistic! This should not be a case of easyJet not having aircraft available: their latest acquisition is of a brand new Airbus A320 (G-EZWA) just last week.
These late easyJet UK flights would actually pay a late takeoff surcharge, but it would be relatively small: I calculate that for the 24 flights having taken off after 10 pm since June 1, the total surcharge would amount to 2750 CHF, or just over 100 CHF per flight. Given that the average price of tickets to Liverpool is over 100 CHF and the A319 seating capacity for low-cost airlines is about 150, this amounts to at most 0.7% of the revenue: hardly likely to ring alarm bells in easyJet UK management offices.