UK Scheduled Flights On Time Performance Continues To Get Worse


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UK Scheduled Flights On Time Performance Continues To Get Worse

By Eddy Metcalf

March 29, 2011 - The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), published data showing that 32% of scheduled flights at the ten airports monitored by the CAA were late between October and December 2010. This compares with 24% in the same period in 2009. More flights were late and the average delay increased at all monitored airports during the quarter. 

Commenting on the figures, Iain Osborne, CAA Group Director for Regulatory Policy, said: ?During the final three months of last year, nearly a third of flights were more than 15 minutes late. The worst performers were charter flights from Edinburgh and Manchester, with scheduled flights from Heathrow and Luton also performing badly.

?While some of the fall in punctuality can be explained by the terrible weather in November and December, that doesn?t explain it all. The CAA website contains a guide for passengers to use to check which airline has the best punctuality on their chosen route.?

Examining performance on days affected by bad weather shows that about a third of the reduction in on-time performance and about a quarter of the increase in average delay is due to weather-related disruption. The remainder of the changes has therefore arisen due to other causes. 

In the last quarter of last year, there were 309,000 scheduled flights and 14,000 charter flights at the ten airports monitored, drops of four and 14% respectively, compared with the fourth quarter of 2009. 

During October to December 2010, the overall on-time performance (which is defined as leaving/arriving early or leaving/arriving up to 15 minutes late) of scheduled flights at the ten UK airports monitored was 68%, nine percentage points lower than in the fourth quarter of 2009. The average delay across all scheduled flights monitored was 21 minutes, an increase of six minutes compared with the same period in 2009. 

Among the London airports, Luton and Heathrow Airports showed the largest drops in on-time performance and experienced the greatest increases in average delay. Luton?s on-time performance fell from 76% to 64% and Heathrow?s fell by ten percentage points to 65%. Average delay increased by eight minutes at Luton and by seven minutes at Heathrow. 


Overall, on-time performance for scheduled flights at regional airports fell by seven percentage points and the average delay increased by six minutes in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009. Newcastle Airport had the largest decline in on-time performance (82% to 71%) and increase in average delay (nine minutes) amongst the regional airports. 

The proportion of on-time charter flights fell by eight percentage points to 63%, compared with the same period of 2009. The average delay across all charter flights monitored in the fourth quarter of 2010 was 38 minutes, compared to 24 minutes in the four quarter of 2009. 

    Among the 75 destinations with the most passengers, Scheduled flights to and from Madrid recorded the worst on-time performance of 51% and had the highest average delay of 32 minutes. Flights to and from Guernsey had the highest on-time performance (82%), and flights to and from Billund (Denmark) had the shortest average delay (14 minutes).

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