Punctuality is an aspect of the flight experience that really matters both to the passenger and airlines' bottom lines.
The airlines with the best average on-time performance skewed toward Europe for 2014, as 13 of the top 20 airlines tracked are based in Europe, five are in Asia-Pacific and two are in the U.S.
airBaltic, the Latvian low cost carrier, had the best overall on-time performance in 2014 (94.9%) for all airlines tracked by OAG, an aviation data service, in its new report. airBaltic had the best on-time performance for all low cost airlines in October as well, and also had the best on-time performance for all European carriers for the year. Many of the overall rankings for last year mirror those from the last few months of the year.
For the Asia-Pacific region, Japan Airlines had the best on-time performance for the year and ranked in the top 5 for all airlines for November.
Hawaiian Airlines came in second overall (92.3%) for all airlines tracked and bested all other U.S. airlines for the year, as well. Alaska Airlines is the only other U.S. carrier to make the overall top 20 list (88.5%).
In the Middle East, Saudia tops the list with 89.4% of its flights making it to the gate on-time, and the airline was ranked ninth among the top 20 airlines with best on-time performance in November and is the only Middle East carrier to make the overall top 20 for 2014. Emirates ranks third in the region with an on-time record of 80.1% for last year.
Etihad may have one of the most luxurious suites in the sky, but that doesn’t necessarily carry over into being top-notch in timeliness. Of all airlines OAG looked at, Etihad has one of the worst records with only 56.8% of its flights arriving on-time.
Top 20 Airlines On-Time Performance 2014
|Rank||Airline||Average OTP 2014|
|4||Norwegian Air Shuttle||89.70%|
|6||Saudi Arabian Airlines||89.40%|
|13||Air New Zealand||88.30%|
|15||All Nippon Airways||87.30%|
For airports, England’s Bristol Airport had the best on-time performance last year (94.4%). OAG places Bristol in the “small” airports category for airports with fewer than 10 million airline seats arriving and departing per year.
Salt Lake City International Airport had the highest on-time performance percentage for a U.S. airport (88.2%) and is in the “medium” category for airports with 10 to 20 million airline seats annually.
U.S. airports did well in the “large” airports category for airports with greater than 20 million airline seats per year, as seven airports in this category are in the U.S. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport ranks third (86.2%) in the large category, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, Miami International Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport also made the list.
Top 10 U.S. Airports On-Time Performance 2014
|Rank||Airport||Average OTP 2014|
|1||Salt Lake City International Airport||88.20%|
|2||Seattle-Tacoma International Airport||86.20%|
|3||Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport||84.50%|
|3||Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport||84.50%|
|5||Miami International Airport||83.20%|
|6||Charlotte Douglas International Airport||83.10%|
|7||Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport||82.40%|
|8||Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport||82.00%|
|9||Los Angeles International Airport||81.10%|
|10||Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport||78.80%|
Photo credit: An airBaltic F50 aircraft on the tarmac at Oulu Airport in Finland. Olli Vainio / Flickr