Qantas is the world's sixth most-reliable airline among the world's 20 most punctual, according to new standings for on-time performance.
Panamanian operator Copa Airlines was ranked the best airline in the world for on-time performance (OTP) by aviation analysts OAG, in the annual Punctuality League, with 89.79 per cent of their flights arriving with 15 minutes of their scheduled timings. The Latvian flag carrier, airBaltic, took second spot, followed by Hong Kong Airlines (88.11 per cent), Hawaiian Airlines (87.52 per cent) and Bangkok Airways (87.16 per cent).
The world's most punctual airlines
- Copa Airlines - 89.79 per cent of flights on time
- airBaltic - 89.17%
- Hong Kong Airlines - 88.11%
- Hawaiian Airlines - 87.52 %
- Bangkok Airways - 87.16%
- Qantas Airways - 85.65%
- Latam Airlines - 85.6%
- Azul - 85.21%
- Qatar Airways - 85.17%
- KLM - 84.52%
Also in the Australasia region, Virgin Australia had an OTP score of 78.32 per cent, while Air New Zealand had 76.7 per cent. Qantas' result as one of the world's most reliable airlines comes after the carrier was also named the world's safest airline in new rankings announced last week.
In a separate table of the world's largest carriers, South American airline Latam took top spot, with an OTP of 85.6 per cent, followed by two Japanese carriers, All Nippon Airways (84.43 per cent) and Japan Airlines (83.99 per cent). Easyjet was the next best ranked British airline, in 14th, with 72.89 per cent of its flights arriving on time.
How punctual are the world's largest airlines?
- Latam Airlines Group - 85.60 per cent of flights on time
- All Nippon Airways - 84.43%
- Japan Airlines - 83.99%
- Delta Air Lines - 83.08%
- Alaska Airlines - 82.61%
- IndiGo - 81.7%
- Southwest - 78.2%
- United Airlines - 78.06%
- American Airlines - 77.65%
- British Airways - 75.78%
- SAS - 75.43%
- Turkish Airlines - 75.39%
- Air France - 74.11%
- EasyJet - 72.89%
- China Southern Airlines - 71.52%
- JetBlue - 71.37%
- China Eastern Airlines - 70.62%
- Lufthansa - 69.41%
- Air China - 68.84%
- Air Canada - 66.82%
John Grant, senior analyst at OAG, pointed to the improvements made by American airlines in the rankings, with five of the top 10 "mega" airlines from the US, but added that carriers around the world are working on keeping their flights on schedule.
Air Canada was deemed to have the worst OTP of the 20 biggest carriers, with a 66.82 per cent OTP.
"Global on-time performance continues to be strong across," said Grant. "Many airlines and airports have made significant investment in infrastructure and transparency over the past decade and the results are paying off.
"As an industry, we've never been better equipped to maximise OTP and avoid severe delays."
OAG, which analysed 58 million flights, only features airlines for which it has data covering at least 80 per cent of all departures, so many notable carriers do not appear. These include Ryanair, which claims to have been the most punctual of "any major EU airline" in December, with an OTP of 81 per cent.
Which are the world's most punctual airports?
It will surprise no one that Tokyo Haneda is the most punctual "mega" airport – handling more than 30 million passengers a year – in the world, with 85.62 per cent of its flights on-time. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta is not far behind, with 82.23 per cent on time; an achievement all the more impressive as the world's busiest airport. Singapore Changi, an airport regularly considered the world's best airport, is in third, with 80.7 per cent.
- Tokyo Haneda - 85.62 per cent of flights on time
- Atlanta - 82.23%
- Singapore Changi - 80.7%
- Denver - 80.65%
- Los Angeles - 79.95%
- Madrid - 79.16%
- Dallas/Fort Worth - 78.23%
- Amsterdam - 77.73%
- Bangkok - 77.21%
- Chicago O'Hare - 76.67%
Both Sydney and Melbourne's airports made the top 20 list of mega airports, coming in at 16th and 17th respectively. Brisbane ranked number eight for large airports, while in the medium airport table Adelaide came in 11th and Perth 15th.
London Heathrow, which runs at near-capacity, ranked 15th behind rivals including Madrid (sixth), Amsterdam (ninth) and New York JFK (12th), with 74.06 per cent of its flight on-time, according to OAG.
Don't airlines exaggerate flight time to improve their on-time performance?
"Schedule padding" is one of the worst-kept secrets in air travel. Airlines are under increasing pressure to improve their OTP so give themselves plenty of wiggle room when allotting flight times. That's why, despite advances in technology, it takes longer to fly from A to B than it once did.
Take, for example, the short hop from London Heathrow to Edinburgh. Twenty years ago, according to previous research by OAG, every flight heading north was allotted a flight time of 75 minutes or less. These days a flight time of 90, or even 100 minutes, isn't uncommon.
For the short hop from Madrid to Barcelona, most airlines quoted a flight time of one hour back in 2000. Now 75 minutes is the norm.
with The Telegraph, London