UK flights’ punctuality falls in the second quarter of 2012

Date: 24 September 2012

• In the second quarter of 2012, 78% of scheduled flights were on-time, four percentage points lower than in the second quarter of 2011 (April-June). Average delay increased by one minute to 12 minutes.
• Heathrow registered the biggest year on year fall (six percentage points) and had the worst on-time performance for scheduled flights (73%) among the ten UK airports monitored.
• However, punctuality on charter flights improved year on year.

Data from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) released today shows that during April to June 2012, 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 78%, a fall of four percentage points compared with the second quarter of 2011. The average delay across all scheduled flights monitored was 12 minutes, one more minute than in the second quarter of 2011. This is a fall from a relatively good performance in the second quarter of 2011 compared with previous years

In the second quarter of this year, the punctuality of 350,000 scheduled and 20,000 charter passenger flights was measured at ten airports, which represents a 0.8% increase in scheduled flights and a 12.8% decrease in charter flights, compared with the second quarter of 2011.

Commenting on the figures, Iain Osborne, CAA Group Director for Regulatory Policy, said: “Passengers are entitled to expect a good value flight that gets them to their destination on time. These figures show that the majority of passengers using UK airports are receiving that level of service. However, the drop in performance for scheduled flights is a warning sign - more can be done, and we urge airports, airlines and air traffic control to work together to reverse this trend, reduce delays and ensure even more passengers reach their destination on time.”

Scheduled Flights
On-time performance (defined as early to 15 minutes late) for scheduled flights at London airports fell by four percentage points to 77% and the average delay increased by two minutes to 13 minutes, between the second quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2012. Over the same period, Heathrow had the largest fall in on-time performance (six percentage points to 73%), whereas Luton improved its on-time performance by one percentage point. Gatwick’s on-time performance fell by three percentage points, Stansted’s fell by two percentage points and London City by one percentage point.

At other airports monitored, the on-time performance for scheduled flights fell overall by two percentage points and the average delay increased by one minute in the second quarter of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011. On-time performance fell by three percentage points at Manchester and Birmingham, by two percentage points at Glasgow, by one percentage point at Edinburgh but it increased by one percentage point at Newcastle.

Charter Flights
Contrastingly, punctuality of charter improved in the second quarter of 2012 compared with the same period of 2011. The proportion of on-time charter flights increased by two percentage points to 77% and the average delay across all charter flights monitored in the second quarter of 2012 was 17 minutes, a fall of three minutes compared with the second quarter of 2011.

Destinations with most passengers
Among the 75 scheduled international destinations with the most passengers in the second quarter of 2012, flights to and from Toronto recorded the worst on-time performance of 52% and the highest average delay of 28 minutes. Flights to and from Rotterdam achieved the best punctuality with an on-time performance of 94% and the lowest average delay of 3 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:
• Delay statistics for the Top 75 most visited international destinations on scheduled flights:
• Historic punctuality data on a Quarter by Quarter basis broken down by London and Regional airports:

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. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.