If you’ve ever wondered which airline in the UK is the least punctual, you finally have your answer now. According to an analysis of aviation data provided by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority), the following airlines rank amongst the five least punctual carriers in the country.
- Wizz Air
- Norwegian Air Shuttle
- Vueling Airlines
- Thomas Cook Airlines
- BMI Regional
As you can see, Wizz Air is right on top of the list. The Hungarian low-budget carrier built up its reputation by serving typically ignored Eastern-European routes at low prices. However, the recent study points out that the carrier has the worst punctuality record for 2017. The average Wizz Air flight was found to be 23 minutes late.
Coming in second was Norwegian Air Shuttle, followed closely by Vueling, Thomas Cook, and BMI Regional.
The data covered around 44 airlines with a minimum of 2000 scheduled services from airports in the UK in 2017. The study factored in all flights except cancellations. The total number of flights studied reported a combined average of 15 minutes per delay.
The CAA report stated that reliability was obviously of great concern to flyers, which is why the study was conducted. The goal was to keep passengers informed, which would help them make better decisions when choosing a carrier to fly with.
Not all carriers are the same
However, there were a few good performers too. Scandinavian Airlines was found to be the most punctual. The worst delay recorded was seven minutes behind schedule. Coming in second on the list of most punctual carriers was Air France, followed by Alitalia and Delta Airlines.
A spokesperson from Wizz Air told the media that the company invests heavily towards time performance. In his/her statement, the spokesperson mentioned that there were several issues, specific to the UK, such as poor airport infrastructure, slot restrictions, and congestions, that had an impact on the carrier’s time performance within the country, compared to its performance on other routes.
The spokesperson also included the recent winter weather conditions in Eastern and Central Europe as additional factors.
The carrier, which is the largest pocket-friendly airline in Eastern and Central Europe, recently came under the spotlight for another reason. Apparently, its traffic figures have gone up by 22.9% compared to the previous year’s figures. It has been predicted that this year’s performance will also deliver a similar level of growth.
Norwegian Air Shuttle, which came second on the list of the least punctual airlines, is known primarily for its short-haul services. Its average delay does not factor in its long-haul services from the UK. The carrier blamed the delays on ATC strikes and adverse weather, which care considered beyond the respective airline’s control.
Losses are expensive
Flight delays are a major financial drain for airlines. Thanks to EU legislation, carriers are expected to compensate their passengers for delays lasting three hours or more. The amount can range from €250 for short-haul flights to €600 for long-haul flights. Apart from compensation, carriers are also expected to provide food, drink, and general assistance. If the delay lasts longer than two hours, the carrier is even expected to arrange accommodation.
There is a 15-minute margin that is provided when measuring On-Time Performance. So, at the destination, the airline is marked according to the exact time it reaches the gate.
The pressure on carriers to be on time has increased, leading to unethical practices such as “schedule padding” wherein carriers quote a higher flight time than usual. This is one of the reasons why it takes longer than usual to cover certain routes these days.