UK flight punctuality improved during London 2012

Date: 19 December 2012

• In the third quarter of 2012, 80% of scheduled flights and 77% of charter flights were on-time, an increase of one percentage point and three percentage points respectively compared to the third quarter of 2011.
• London City recorded the best on-time performance (91%) and shortest average delay (5 minutes) for scheduled flights among the ten UK airports monitored.
• For charter flights, Luton registered the biggest improvement both in on-time performance and average delay.

Data from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) released today shows that during July to September 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 80%, an increase of one percentage point compared with the third quarter of 2011. The average delay across all scheduled flights monitored was 12 minutes, the same as in the third quarter of 2011.

In the third quarter of this year, the punctuality of 365,000 scheduled and 28,000 charter passenger flights was measured at ten airports, which represents a 0.25% increase in scheduled flights and a 8.47% decrease in charter flights, compared with the same quarter in 2011.

Commenting on the figures, Iain Osborne, CAA Group Director for Regulatory Policy, said: “The aviation industry worked together in preparing for London 2012. I’m especially pleased to say we saw improved levels of punctuality, with on time performance up across the board during the three months covering the Olympics and Paralympics. We look forward to an Olympic legacy where the lessons learned are applied to year-round operations."

Scheduled Flights
On-time performance (defined as early to 15 minutes late) for scheduled flights at London airports increased by two percentage points to 80% and the average delay remained at 12 minutes, the same level as in the quarter 3 2011. Gatwick’s on-time performance was 75% and average delay was 14 minutes, both at the same level as in quarter 3 2011. All other airports in London showed an improvement in on-time performance and shortened average delay. London City had 91% of scheduled flights on time and an average delay of 5 minutes, the best on-time performance among the five London airports measured.

At the regional airports monitored, 81% of scheduled flights were on time, with an average delay of 12 minutes. Newcastle had 84% scheduled flights on time, the highest among regional airports. Compared with the same period in 2011, on-time performance increased by one percentage point at Manchester and Newcastle, fell by one percentage point at Birmingham and Edinburgh, and remained unchanged at Glasgow in quarter 3 2012.

Charter Flights
In the third quarter of 2012, punctuality of charter flights showed a bigger improvement than scheduled flights across all the eight airports where it was measured. The proportion of on-time charter flights increased by three percentage points to 77% and the average delay across all charter flights monitored in the third quarter of 2012 was 19 minutes, a fall of two minutes compared with the third quarter of 2011. The best on-time performance was registered at Luton (86%), Stansted and Birmingham (both were 85%).

Destinations with most passengers
Among the 75 scheduled international destinations with the most passengers in the third quarter of 2012, flights to and from Toronto recorded the worst on-time performance of 65.0% and the highest average delay of 28.5 minutes. Flights to and from Luxembourg achieved the best punctuality with an on-time performance of 91.8% and the lowest average delay of 5.0 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 table
• Delay statistics for the Top 75 most visited international destinations on scheduled flights: Top 75 Airports table
• Historic punctuality data on a Quarter by Quarter basis broken down by London and Regional airports: Historic Data table
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: CAA punctuality data. 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.