Revealed: Airlines with the worst punctuality

Vueling Airlines has the worst punctuality of major airlines flying from UK airports, an investigation has found.

An investigation has found the airline Vueling has the worst punctuality of major airlines flying from UK airports.

The Spanish carrier’s UK departures were 31 minutes late on average in 2018, according to analysis of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data.

Thomas Cook Airlines was found to have the second worst performance, with flights typically 24 minutes late, followed by Wizz Air at 23 minutes and Norwegian Air UK and Eurowings, both at 22 minutes.

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Cathay Pacific Airways is the most punctual airline, with aircraft typically taking off just eight minutes behind schedule.

The average delay across all flights was 16 minutes.

The ranking features the 43 airlines with more than 2,000 flights from UK airports last year.

Leeds-based budget airline Jet2 was listed at number 30, with an average delay time of 12.3 minutes.

Average delay figures take into account every flight that operated, including those that were on time. Cancelled services are excluded from the CAA data.

A spokesman for Vueling, which serves several UK airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Edinburgh and Birmingham, said the low-cost airline’s punctuality was “hugely affected” by industrial action in France.

He said: “There were 22 strike days at Marseille last summer.

“During these strikes, Vueling flights to and from Barcelona and the UK could not fly straight across France but instead flew south of the Pyrenees and into the Atlantic before looping back towards Britain.

“All airlines have been affected by air traffic control issues in Europe, but the location of Vueling’s (Barcelona) hub close to Marseille means it has been particularly badly affected.”

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of trade body Airlines UK, which represents UK-registered carriers, said too many flights are affected by the country’s “antiquated airspace”.

He added: “We support Government in its efforts to introduce much-needed modernisation.”

Delay times

Here are the average delays for flights operated by airlines with at least 2,000 departures from UK airports in 2018, according to analysis of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data.

1. Vueling Airlines (30.5 minutes)

2. Thomas Cook Airlines (24.2 minutes)

3. Wizz Air (22.8 minutes)

4. Norwegian Air UK (22.2 minutes)

5. Eurowings Luftverkehrs (21.7 minutes)

6. Norwegian Air Shuttle (21.5 minutes)

7. Air Portugal (21.3 minutes)

8. Ryanair (21.0 minutes)

9. Eastern Airways (20.1 minutes)

10. Turkish Airlines (18.7 minutes)

11. Blue Air Transport Aerian (18.6 minutes)

12. Tui Airways (18.3 minutes)

13. Swiss Airlines (18.0 minutes)

14. Norwegian Air International (17.8 minutes)

15. Aurigny Air Services (17.6 minutes)

16. EasyJet UK (17.6 minutes)

17. BMI Regional (16.4 minutes)

18. Brussels Airlines (16.1 minutes)

19. EasyJet Airline Company (16.1 minutes)

20. Stobart Air (16.0 minutes)

21. Finnair (15.3 minutes)

22. Air Canada (15.0 minutes)

23. Lufthansa (14.7 minutes)

24. Flybe (13.8 minutes)

25. Iberia (13.5 minutes)

26. Emirates (13.5 minutes)

27. Loganair (13.3 minutes)

28. Etihad Airways (13.2 minutes)

29. Blue Islands (12.8 minutes)

30. (12.3 minutes)

31. BA CityFlyer (12.2 minutes)

32. British Airways (11.9 minutes)

33. Virgin Atlantic Airways (11.7 minutes)

34. Aer Lingus (11.4 minutes)

35. United Airlines (11.1 minutes)

36. Air France (11.0 minutes)

37. SAS (11.0 minutes)

38. Alitalia (10.7 minutes)

39. American Airlines (10.4 minutes)

40. Qatar Airways (10.3 minutes)

41. KLM (10.1 minutes)

42. Delta Airlines (9.9 minutes)

43. Cathay Pacific Airways (8.0 minutes)

Airline names are as per the CAA website. There are several entries for some companies such as easyJet and Norwegian due to them having subsidiaries.