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Flight Delays around the World

AuthorAda Kozłowska

We’ve found that, despite the miserable winter conditions, the UK doesn’t fare too badly when it comes to the frequency of delayed and cancelled flights. Actually Europe as a whole does pretty well. By contrast, more than 20% of all flights in the United States run late year after year. And it’s the People’s Republic of China that has the poorest record in the world for flight delays – so poor, in fact, that many air hostesses have started worshipping on-time shrines!

Big trouble in little China

According to FlightStats’ report from July 2013, eight of the 10 worst-performing Asian airlines in terms of delays are Chinese carriers. A staggering 80% of Chinese passengers don’t even know there is such a thing as delay compensation and 50% of passengers fail to claim the compensation they’re entitled to. Statistics reveal that Beijing Capital Airport is the worst for delays with close to 82% of all flights held up. That means only 18% depart from China’s capital city on time. In other words, eight out of every ten flights in Beijing are delayed.

Japanese efficiency

Now let’s compare that scenario to Japan. Flights leaving Tokyo Haneda Airport are on time 95% of the time. What a massive difference! Osaka International Airport’s performance was even better, with 95.88% of flights departing promptly.

Asian success stories

Other Asian international airports to record impressive numbers include Indira Gandhi (Delhi), Incheon (Seoul), Singapore Changi, and Taiwan Taoyuan (Taipei), and the low profile Jeju Island hub in South Korea. The Asian airline with the very best on-time rate was South Korea’s Air Busan, with a close to perfect 96.77%.

Europe’s trendsetters

Europe’s on-time average is actually 12 percentage points higher than Asia’s, with Istanbul Atatürk International Airport claiming the worst on-time rate at 38.02 percent; more than 40 percent of all its flights were 15 minutes late.

  • Europe’s 50 largest airlines notched an on-time average of 81 percent.
  • Air Portugal, Vueling Airlines, UTair Aviation, Eurowings, Air Croatia, and Air France reported the most delays or cancellations. Meanwhile, Régional reported the worst cancellation rate among all airlines included in the global survey (close to 8 %)
  • Schiphol (Amsterdam), Eleftherios Venizelos (Athens), Kastrup (Copenhagen), Hamburg, Munich, Gardermoen (Oslo), and Vienna all recorded impressive on-time rates of 80 percent or more.

Why does China perform so poorly?

Those numbers from the PRC are shocking. According to the China Daily newspaper, air traffic volume is the cause since about 80% of air space is restricted to military use. Other experts say the problems are down to the airports failing to expand quickly enough, to accommodate commercial airline growth.

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