Following a review of flight data from the Civil Aviation Authority beginning in 2022, Wizz Air, TUI, and Qatar Airlines have been identified as the top three airlines in the United Kingdom with the highest rate of delayed flights.
According to a study of data provided by the Civil Aviation Authority conducted by the PA news agency, the Hungarian airline was reportedly 46 minutes and six seconds behind schedule on average for departures from the United Kingdom in 2022.
This was approximately three times longer than reported in the preceding year, also in which Wizz Air rated the lowest overall.
The significant increase in delays experienced by Wizz Air and other airlines occurred during a challenging year for commercial air travel. This was caused by the industry’s struggle to get back up to speed after being slowed down by travel restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus.
Wizz Air serves eight airports in the United Kingdom with its short haul flights. These airports include Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick, and Luton.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “These figures are worrying, but will be no surprise to passengers who’ve had to endure shoddy treatment from airlines for years. With a regulator still lacking the appropriate powers to punish airlines who break the law, including withholding refunds, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that some carriers are simply getting away with leaving passengers high and dry.”
“To better protect passengers, the Government must give the CAA effective powers to clamp down on poor airline behaviour, which includes the ability to hand out hefty fines when they continually flout the law.”
Over the same period, TUI was ranked as the airline with the second poorest punctuality, with an average delay of 40 minutes and 18 seconds. Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, and Pegasus Airlines followed this.
The research investigates all planned and chartered departures from UK airports made by airlines with more than 2,500 flights; however, it does not consider previously cancelled flights. Paul Smith, director of consumer affairs for the CAA, stated that “too many passengers faced disappointing levels of delays” in the previous year.
He added: “The CAA has regularly asked for stronger consumer enforcement powers, including the ability to impose fines on airlines. When things do go wrong, we expect airlines to proactively provide passengers with information about their rights when flights are disrupted, as well as offer timely support and assistance.
“We’ve already raised concerns about Wizz Air and are working closely with the airline to improve outcomes for consumers.”
Throughout the study, all scheduled and chartered takeoffs from UK airports by airlines operating more than 2,500 flights were considered. Flights that were subsequently cancelled were not counted.
On average, the total time that these aircraft were delayed was 23 minutes.
If you want to minimise the likelihood of being delayed or stranded at an airport for any longer than is really necessary, you should probably avoid travelling during the first part of the summer.
May and June were the worst for punctuality in 2022 because the airline industry could not hire and train enough workers to deal with the increased demand for vacations that resulted from lifting the coronavirus travel restrictions in the UK.
According to the report, the top 10 worst performing airlines for punctuality are listed below:
- Wizz Air: 46 minutes and six seconds
- Tui: 40 minutes and 18 seconds
- Qatar Airways: 31 minutes and 48 seconds
- Turkish Airlines: 29 minutes and 30 seconds
- Pegasus Airlines: 27 minutes and 18 seconds
- Flybe: 26 minutes and six seconds
- Air Portugal: 25 minutes and 48 seconds
- Air Canada: 25 minutes and 18 seconds
- British Airways: 23 minutes
- Vueling: 22 minutes and 12 seconds
In recent months, several strikes and walkouts have impacted the aviation industry, including security personnel at Heathrow, border officials at multiple airports, and workers at the Passport Office.
According to a statement made by a spokesperson for the trade association Airlines UK, “The whole industry knows how important punctuality is for customers.’
“Last year was not representative due to the late unwinding of Covid restrictions which required a very steep ramp up.’
“Since then, the sector has invested huge resources into increased resilience for this summer and we can’t wait to welcome people back for their well-earned breaks.”