Some surprises in new list of world’s most on-time airports

Jan 3, 2020

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New data from the flight-data and travel analytics company Cirium shows international airports are leading the way for on-time performance.  Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) in Moscow topped the rankings with a 95% on-time departure rate. That’s quite a feat considering it’s also the busiest of Moscow’s four airports. Tocumen International Airport in Panama City (PTY) ranked No. 2 with a 93% on-time rate. Interestingly, no American airport made the top 10. In fact, the only American airports in the top 20 were Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) at No. 19 and Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) at No. 20.

As we reported yesterday, Delta was the most on-time North American airline. And as we previously reported, Aeroflot was the most punctual in the world.

Cirium wrote,

“Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) had over 315 flights per day in 2019. SVO’s new third runway clearly offers relief — and some much-needed new capacity at Russia’s busiest airport. Aeroflot, the largest carrier at the airport, maintains nearly 84% of the total operations at SVO. With a carrier owning such a lion’s share of operations at one airport, it stands to reason that as Aeroflot goes, so does SVO. Well done to SVO’s Management for keeping all three runways operational year-round and Aeroflot’s network planning and operations teams who have worked hard to fine-tune their schedules and operations in order to keep the aircraft flying in and out of Sheremetyevo as scheduled.”

Eight of the top 10 large airports for on-time performance are based in China.

The most surprising findings may be how few American and Western European airports made the cut in any of the rankings of the best.

Cirium data on most on-time airports in 2019.
Cirium data on the most on-time large airports in 2019. (Data graphic courtesy: Cirium)


Among medium-size airports, Kaohsiung International Airport (KHH) in Taiwan took the top honors. Despite only operating from one runway, Taiwan’s second-largest airport kept congestion to a minimum. The only U.S. airport in the top 10 was in Idaho — Boise Air Terminal at Gowen Field (BOI).

Cirium data on most on-time medium airports. (Graphic courtesy Cirium)
Cirium data on the most on-time medium-size airports in 2019. (Graphic courtesy Cirium)

Finally, among small airports Thailand’s Koh Samui Airport (USM) was tops with 95% of flights leaving on time.

Five of the top 10 airports in this category are in Japan: Yulin Yuyang Airport (UYN), Nagasaki Airport (NGS), Miyazaki Airport (KMI), Kumamoto Airport (KMJ) and Matsuyama Airport (MYJ).

Jeremy Bowen, Cirium CEO, said: “Airlines and airports which consistently operate on time and go that extra mile for their customers deserve to be recognized in an increasingly competitive environment and should be justifiably proud of reaching such a world-class industry standard.”

Cirium data on most on-time small airports in 2019. (graphic courtesy Cirium)
Cirium data on the most on-time small airports in 2019. (Graphic courtesy Cirium)


Cirium analyzed 600 sources and more than 100,000 flights a day to compile the ratings.


(Photo illustration courtesy Cirium)

And TPG reporter Victoria Walker reminds us that many of the top travel rewards credit cards offer some form of trip delay or trip cancellation/interruption coverage.
For instance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers up to $500 for reasonable expenses if your flight is delayed more than six hours or requires an overnight stay. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers up to $500 if you’re delayed longer than 12 hours.
American Express recently added trip delay insurance, which covers round-trip flights purchased entirely with an eligible card. If your trip is delayed by more than six hours because of a covered reason, this perk will reimburse unexpected expenses — such as meals, lodging and personal-use items — up to $500 per trip with the following cards:

The information for the American Express Corporate Platinum and Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

And, if your trip is delayed more than 12 hours because of a covered reason, you’ll be eligible for expense reimbursement of up to $300 with these cards:

The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Additional reporting by Victoria Walker.

Featured image courtesy Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS via Getty Images.

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