IROPs as a contraction of the term IRegular OPerations, refer to unusual, unexpected, or extenuating circumstances in which a scheduled flight does not operate. There isn’t a single reason but unexpected maintenance, weather conditions, volcanic activity, and the current but changing COVID-19 travel restrictions are all causes.
IROPs do not necessarily refer to cancellations but can also include delays, diversions, and re-routed flights. Given that aircraft turnaround, times are often measured in minutes rather than hours, it is not uncommon for a cascade of delays and cancellations to onward impact other flights in the network due to aircraft and flight crews being stuck in the wrong locations.
Over the course of a typical year, IROPs can impact airline revenue by as much as 10% when considering both hard- and soft-costs.
All airlines have command centers that coordinate IROPs recovery by canceling flights to reposition them within the network and facilitate recovery.
In most cases, insurance and air travel laws cover the rights of travelers affected by IROPs, but the operational inconvenience is borne by TMCs, Travel Managers, and travelers.