Delta Air Lines was the most reliable North American carrier last year, with more than 84% of its flights arriving on time, according to new rankings by Cirium. But globally, the U.S. carrier was outstripped by Brazilian airline Azul.
Cirium, an aviation analytics company, has published its annual On-Time Performance Review for airlines. The North American market tracked 99% of flights up until December 15, just missing the recent flurry of cancellations and delays caused by an unfortunately-timed Christmas storm.
But during the preceding 12 months, 72% of more than five million flights within North America made it to their destination on time (defined as within 15 minutes of their scheduled gate arrival). Some airlines far outpaced that average.
Delta was the top performer, with 84% of its 960,000 flights in North America arriving on time. “Congratulations to Delta Air Lines for its excellent performance in Cirium’s 2022 On-Time Performance Review, getting its passengers to their destinations on time as the sector revived during 2022,” said Jeremy Bowen, Cirium CEO. “Ramping back up operations so quickly after an enforced slowdown [during the pandemic] is not easy to do.”
The Atlanta-based carrier was followed by Alaska Airlines, with 81% of its 231,000 flights arriving according to schedule. United Airlines landed in third place, with an on-time rate of 81% for nearly 750,000 flights, while American Airlines came in fourth, with 79% of its 1 million flights getting in on time.
Southwest followed in fifth place, with nearly 75% of its 1.3 million flights on time. However, Cirium’s tracking ended just before the low-cost carrier canceled more than 15,000 flights and delayed thousands more over the holiday period.
Canadian carriers posted worse performance, with WestJet coming in ninth (60% on-time arrivals) among North American airlines and Air Canada rounding out the ranking in number 10 (55% on-time arrivals).
In the European market, Iberia was the most prompt airline (86% of flights on time), joined by other Spanish airlines Air Europa (84%), Iberia Express (84%), and Vueling (82%).
In Asia Pacific, Thai AirAsia took the gold medal, with 91.5% of flights coming in on time, followed by Japanese All Nippon Airways (89%) and Japan Airlines (88%) in silver and bronze positions.
In the Middle East, Oman Air was the top performer (91% on-time arrivals), while Royal Jordanian (87%) and Kuwait (82%) rounded out the top three.
In Latin America, Brazilian airline Azul was in pole position, with 89% on-time arrivals, joined at the top of the rankings by Chilean low-cost carrier Sky Airline (89%) and Panamanian flag carrier Copa Airlines (88%).
For global on-time performance, São Paulo-based Azul was named the top airline, followed by All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Chilean flag carrier LATAM, and Delta.