Panama’s Copa Airlines has beaten airBaltic as the most on time, while KLM radically improves but Vueling plummets.
It’s unlikely anyone would choose an airline solely on the basis of its timekeeping, but a carrier’s on-time record can be a window into its professionalism and can sway a traveller’s decision between two competitors.
Analysts at the UK-based air intelligence company OAG have revealed their Punctuality League for 2019, naming the airlines – and airports – that tend to be on time the most.
Crunching full-year data from 58 million flight records in 2018, OAG has come up with a ranking from top to bottom.
Its definition of on-time performance (OTP) is an arrival or departure within 15 minutes of the scheduled times.
The most punctual airline in the world, with 89.79% of its flights on time, is the Latin American carrier Copa Airlines, based at Panama City Airport, which is the world’s most punctual medium-sized airport.
With a narrow margin, Copa knocks last year’s winner, airBaltic, off the top spot.
Bangkok Airways rose the most on the list, boosting its on-time performance by as much as 10% and enabling it to claim fifth place. LATAM Airlines Group rose from 36th to 7th and KLM from 30th to 10th.
But Japan Airlines tumbled from 4th to 13th and Vueling plummeted from 7th to 63rd, which OAG says may be due to French strikes last year.
Beyond the top ten, South Africa’s Mango was Africa’s top airline, with an on-time performance of 82.88%.
Airports with an annual minimum of 2.5 million departing seats were also ranked, the most punctual ‘mega’ airport (30 million-plus seats) for the fourth year in a row being Tokyo Haneda (85.62%).
The top ‘major’ airport (20-30 million) is Moscow Sheremetyevo (87%), the top ‘large’ airport (10-20 million) Japan’s Osaka Airport (88.22%).
Panama City is the highest ‘medium’ airport (5-10 million), with an on-time performance of 91.11%, while Minsk in Belarus is the world’s top small airport (2.5-5 million) with 92.35% of flights arriving or departing on time.
Punctual airlines top 10
1. Copa Airlines (89.79%; top mainline airline and top in Latin America)
2. airBaltic (89.17%; top in Europe)
3. Hong Kong Airlines (88.11%; top in Asia-Pacific)
4. Hawaiian Airlines (87.52%; top in North America)
5. Bangkok Airways (87.16%)
6. Qantas Airways (85.65%)
7. LATAM Airlines Group (85.60%; top ‘mega’ airline)
8. Azul (85.21%; top low-cost carrier)
9. Qatar Airways (85.17%; top in Middle East)
10. KLM (84.52%)