UK flights' punctuality improves in the second quarter of 2013

Date: 10 September 2013

• In the second quarter of 2013, 81% of scheduled flights were on-time, an increase of three percentage points compared to the second quarter of 2012.
• All 10 airports monitored saw increases in on-time performance and falls in average delay.
• Birmingham registered the biggest increase in scheduled flight on-time performance of six percentage points. Gatwick with 79% of flights on-time and Heathrow with 77% registered the lowest on-time performance among the 10 airports monitored by the CAA.

Data published by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) shows that during April to June 2013, the overall on-time performance (defined as the proportion of flights arriving or departing early, or up to 15 minutes late) of scheduled flights at the 10 UK airports monitored by the CAA was 81%. This represents an increase of three percentage points compared with the second quarter of 2012. The average delay across all scheduled flights monitored was 11 minutes, one minute less than in the second quarter of 2012.

In the second quarter of this year, there were 356,000 scheduled and 20,000 charter passenger flights at the 10 airports monitored for punctuality by the CAA. This represents a 1.6% increase in scheduled flights and a 2.6% increase in charter flights, compared with the same quarter in 2012.

Iain Osborne, Group Director for Regulatory Policy at the CAA, said: “All passengers using UK airports are entitled to expect their flight to get them to their destination on time, so it’s pleasing to see that punctuality has improved.

“However, these figures also show that many passengers still experienced delays this spring, so there is clearly more work to do to minimise disruption. We therefore want to see airlines, airports and air traffic control building on recent performance and working together to further increase flight punctuality and improve the experience of passengers flying in and out of UK airports.”

Scheduled Flights
On-time performance for scheduled flights at London airports increased by three percentage points to 80% and the average delay fell by two minutes to 11 minutes between the second quarter of 2012 and the same quarter in 2013. Heathrow, Luton and London City’s on-time performance increased by four percentage points to 77%, 83% and 92% respectively. Stansted’s on-time performance increased by two percentage points to 86% and Gatwick’s increased by one percentage point to 79%. Similarly, Heathrow, Luton and London City’s average delay fell by two minutes while Gatwick and Stansted’s average fell by one minute, in the second quarter of 2013 compared with the second quarter in 2012.

At the regional airports monitored in the second quarter of 2013, on-time performance increased by three percentage points to 84% and average delay fell by one minute to 10 minutes. Compared with the same period in 2012, on-time performance increased at all the regional airports monitored. On-time performance increased by six percentage points at Birmingham, four at Manchester, two at Edinburgh and Newcastle, and one percentage point at Glasgow.

Charter Flights
In the second quarter of 2013, punctuality of charter flights remained flat year-on-year at 77%. Average delay across all charter flights monitored in the second quarter of 2013 was 18 minutes, an increase of one minute compared with the second quarter of 2012. On-time performance fell by two percentage points at London Airports to 76% and remained flat at the regional airports monitored at 77%.

Destinations with most flights
Among the 75 scheduled international destinations with the most flights in the second quarter of 2013 (covering routes with between 1,000 and 14,000 flights in the quarter), flights to and from Luxembourg recorded the highest on-time performance of 92.6% and the lowest average delay of 4.5 minutes. Flights to and from Tel Aviv achieved the lowest punctuality with an on-time performance of 65.9% and the highest average delay of 17.9 minutes.

For further media information contact the CAA Press Office on: 020 7453 6030.

Note to editors:
1. Tables containing more information are below:
• Quarterly punctuality data broken down by airport and scheduled vs charter flights: Quarterly results
• Delay statistics for the Top 75 most visited international destinations on scheduled flights: Top 75 Airports
• Historic punctuality data on a Quarter by Quarter basis broken down by London and Regional airports: Historic Data

2. The CAA statistics on punctuality of passenger flights at ‘London Airports’: Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and London City, and ‘Regional airports’: Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow cover both arrivals and departures. Actual times of operation are derived from air transport movements returns made to the CAA, which are compared with planned arrival and departure times supplied by Airport Co-ordination Ltd. Figures for Glasgow Airport became available in July 1993, Newcastle and Edinburgh airports from April 1996 and London City from April 1997. All other airports report from April 1989.

3. It should be noted that the statistics in this notice cover only those flights which were operated; they do not cover those flights which were cancelled. Some airport or airline business models prioritise delaying flights rather than cancelling them outright.

4. Delays can occur for a variety of reasons. Operating circumstances, both within and without the airline’s control, also vary by route and by type of service. These tables are not intended and should not be treated as a direct comparison between scheduled and charter services.

5. In these punctuality data, 'delay' is recorded as the difference between an aircraft's scheduled and actual arrival or departure time at the airport terminal. It does not therefore measure any delay, such as that due to congestion, which has already been allowed for in the planned flight times of the service.

6. Punctuality data are published monthly and annually in summary and in full on the CAA website: For data queries please contact one of our analysts at the Civil Aviation Authority, Aviation Intelligence, K4, CAA House, 45-59 Kingsway, London WC2B 6TE, telephone 020 7453 6245.

7. On-time performance and delay is calculated from the scheduled on-stand time (provided by Airport Co-ordination Ltd.), the reported runway time (provided by the airport) and the expected time an aircraft takes to travel between a stand and the runway (taxiing time - calculated from historic data). The use of average taxi times is sufficient for calculating an aggregate level of on-time performance, but would not be suitable for reviewing the punctuality of an individual flight.

8. In 2009, the CAA, in consultation with the airports, undertook a review of the taxiing time assumptions, and updated the values used for quarter 1 2009 data onwards. To ensure that the comparison is like-for-like, the punctuality data for 2008 has also been recalculated using the revised taxiing time assumptions.

9. The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its regulatory activities range from making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards to preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency.

10. The information contained in this report has been compiled from various sources and it is not possible for the CAA to verify whether it is accurate, nor does the CAA undertake to do so. Consequently, the CAA cannot accept any liability for any financial loss caused by any person's reliance on it.