UK aviation maintains year-on-year punctuality performance for third quarter of 2013

Date: 14 January 2014

• In the third quarter of 2013, 80% of scheduled flights were on-time, the same number compared to the third quarter of 2012.
• Punctuality of charter flights improved, particularly among flights to and from regional airports, where average delay fell by 5 minutes.
• Birmingham registered the biggest increase in flight on-time performance of six percentage points on scheduled flights and of five percentage points on charter flights. Gatwick with 75% of flights on-time and Heathrow with 76% registered the lowest on-time performance over scheduled flights at the 10 airports monitored by the CAA.

Data published by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) shows that during July to September 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 ten UK airports monitored was 80%, the same on-time performance achieved during the third quarter of 2012. The average delay across all scheduled flights monitored was 12 minutes, also the same as in the third quarter of 2013 compared with the previous year. However, charter on-time performance increased by 2 percentage points and average delay fell by 3 minutes

In the third quarter of this year, there were 372,000 scheduled and 29,000 charter passenger flights at the ten airports monitored for punctuality by the CAA. This represents a 1.9% increase in scheduled flights and a 2.7% increase in charter flights, compared with the same quarter in 2012.

Iain Osborne, Group Director for Regulatory Policy at the CAA, said: “These figures highlight industry’s performance for aviation’s busiest period of the year, with millions of passengers taking flights for their summer holidays. It is therefore good to see that most passengers arrived at their destination in reasonable time.

However, this still means many passengers suffered disruption over the summer and we continue to challenge all parts of the aviation industry to work in partnership to improve punctuality and the experience of the UK’s travelling public.”

Scheduled Flights
On-time performance for scheduled flights at London airports fell by one percentage point to 79% and the average delay remained unchanged at 12 minutes between the third quarter of 2012 and the same quarter in 2013. Heathrow’s on-time performance fell by 3 percentage points to 76% and London City’s fell by 2 percentage points to 89%. Luton’s on-time performance increased by two percentage points to 83%, Stansted’s increased by one percentage point to 85% and Gatwick’s remained unchanged at 75%. Similarly, Heathrow and London City’s average delay increased by one and two minutes respectively, while Stansted and Luton’s average fell by one and two minutes, in the third quarter of 2013 compared with the third quarter in 2012. Gatwick’s average delay remained unchanged year on year.

At the regional airports monitored in the third quarter of 2013, on-time performance increased by one percentage point to 82% and average delay fell by 2 minutes to 10 minutes. Compared with the same period in 2012, on-time performance increased at all the regional airports monitored, with the exception of Glasgow where it remained unchanged. Over this period, on-time performance increased by six percentage points at Birmingham, two percentage points at Newcastle and one percentage point at Manchester and Edinburgh.

Charter Flights
In the third quarter of 2013, on-time performance of charter flights increased by two percentage points to 79%. Average delay across all charter flights monitored in the third quarter of 2013 was 16 minutes, a fall of 3 minutes compared with the third quarter of 2012. At Regional Airports, on-time performance increased by four percentage points to 80% and average delay fell by 5 minutes. However, on-time performance fell by one percentage point to 77% at London Airports and average delay remained unchanged.

Destinations with most flights
Among the 75 scheduled international destinations with the most flights in the third quarter of 2013 (covering routes with between 1,000 and 13,800 flights in the quarter), flights to and from Billund (Denmark) recorded the highest on-time performance of 90% and Rotterdam the lowest average delay of 4.9 minutes. Flights to and from Lisbon achieved the lowest on-time performance of 65.9% and Los Angeles the highest average delay of 22.1 minutes.

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

Notes to Editors

1. Tables containing more information are below:
• Quarterly punctuality data broken down by airport and scheduled vs charter flights: last quarter results
• Delay statistics for the Top 75 most visited international destinations on scheduled flights: top 75 destinations
• 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.