The World’s Most Punctual Airlines and Airports

Jan 10, 2018

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According to the Punctuality League Report for 2018 from OAG, the airline with the best on-time record in the world is not a major carrier. In fact, it does not even have real long-haul aircraft.

The air travel intelligence company analyzed 57 million flights in 2017, the most the group has ever combed through to come up with the most punctual airlines, airports. New this year, it also features the busiest routes.

On-time performance is defined as “flights that arrive or depart within 14 minutes and and 59 seconds (under 15 minutes) of their scheduled arrival/departure times.” And, the winner is…. airBaltic.

Most Punctual Airlines

On Time Performance Notes
airBaltic 90.01% Top Mainline Airline and Top Airline in Europe
Hong Kong Airlines 88.83% Top Airline in Asia-Pacific
Hawaiian Airlines 87.24% Top Airline in North America
Copa Airlines 86.39% Top Airline in Latin America
Qantas Airways 86.18%
Japan Airlines 85.27% Top Mega Airline
Vueling Airlines 85.35% Top Low-Cost Carrier
Jetstar Asia 85.08%
Skymark Airlines 85%
Aer Lingus 84.46%

The Latvian state-owned airBaltic came was ranked number one out of all the airlines in the world, with more than 9 out of 10 of its flights leaving or arriving on time. (We recently reviewed the experience onboard its latest airplane, the brand-new Bombardier CS300.)

The top US airline, which was number three overall, was Hawaiian Airlines. Spanish carrier Vueling was the highest-rated low cost carrier (LCC.)

“This year, six of the Top 20 airlines are LCCs, up from four last year and two in 2015,” the report stated.  

Canada’s Air Inuit came in dead last with a 44.6% rating for on-time performance. Venezuelan carrier AVIOR Airlines received a 53.1% and China’s Shenzhen Airlines was the world’s third-worst with 53.5%.

Most Punctual North American Airlines

On Time Performance
Hawaiian Airlines 87.24%
Delta Air Lines 82.76%
Alaska Airlines 81.06%
United Airlines 79.86%
American Airlines 78.97%
Frontier Airlines 78.91%
Southwest 78.55%
Spirit AIrlines 76.97%
Westjet 76.18%
Allegiant Air 73.55%

For the fourth year in a row, Hawaiian sits at number one on the list of most punctual North American airlines. It’s almost 5 percentage points ahead of Delta, which climbed to the number two spot after being in third place in 2016.

Most Punctual Airports

While OAG didn’t share a ranking of airports with the best on time performance overall, they did break it down by category. Among mega-airports with 30 million-plus departing seats per year, Tokyo Haneda (HND) placed at the top of list with 86.75% OTP score. Madrid (MAD) came in second with 83.63% and Atlanta (ATL) had a score of 82.38%.

Japan, Kanto Region, Tokyo Prefecture, Ota-ku, View of Tokyo International Airport at night. (Photo by: JTB/UIG via Getty Images) (Photo by: JTB Photo/UIG via Getty Images)
View of Tokyo Haneda Airport at night. (Photo by: JTB/UIG via Getty Images)

The top major airport (20 to 30 million annual departing seats) was Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP) with 85.72% of its flights leaving on time. Another Japanese airport, Osaka – Itami (ITM) took the top spot for large airports (10 to 20 million departing seats) with 88.45%.

Busiest Routes

Most of the busiest international routes in the world were intra-Asia flights. The most trafficked was Hong Kong (HKG) to Taipei (TPE) with 29,294 flights with an OTP of 70.92%. Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Singapore (SIN) was the second busiest and Jakarta (CGK) to Singapore (SIN) took third place. The busiest internnational route originating in North America is New York LGA to Toronto YYZ, with nearly 21,000 flights taking place on the route and a very low average OTP of 54.24%.

Feature photo of an airBaltic passenger plane by Gareth Fuller – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

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