UK airlines and airports continue to lag behind international rivals when it comes to being on time, according to new research released today.
No British airlines or airports ranked in the top 10 for on-time performance, according to data from Cirium’s On-Time Performance report.
Cirium, an aviation analytics firm, considers an airline to be on time if its planes land within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival time while airports are on time if aircraft depart within 15 minutes of the supposed departure time.
The research comes as UK airlines and airports were plagued by delays and disruption over the summer due to a boom in travel demand combined with staff shortages.
“Ramping back up operations so quickly after an enforced slowdown is not easy to do and the top-ranked airlines in Cirium’s 2022 On-Time Performance Review deserve their recognition for this well-orchestrated achievement,” said Cirium’s boss Jeremy Bowen.
UK airlines lagged behind their Spanish counterparts, as Madrid-based carriers such as Iberia and Vueling took the first four spots in the EU ranking. They were followed by Austrian Airlines and Italy’s ITA Airways.
Trade body Airlines UK was approached for comment.
Meanwhile Heathrow and Gatwick airports ranked below rival international hubs such as Tokyo’s Haneda and Bangalore’s Kempegowda airports.
A spokesperson for trade body Airport Operators Association told City A.M. it was fundamental for the industry and government to work together as the UK had one of the harshest Covid-travel restrictions in the world.
Heathrow has especially been at the centre of controversies as airlines have repeatedly accused the west London hub of not preparing adequately for the return of air travel.
The airport, in turn, has always denied the accusations saying that the lack of ground handling staff was the airlines’ problem.
Centre for London’s senior researcher Jon Tabbush told City A.M. the data reveals “how much more improvement is needed to preserve the capital’s reputation as a global city.”
“This highlights the need for continued investment into London’s future as a tourism destination, with greater investment for international rail also needed to facilitate an increase in green travel,” he added.
However, Francesco Ragni, an aviation professor at Buckinghamshire New University, instead said that on-time performance was a “dated metric” which doesn’t tell “the full story on customer experience.”