Flight delays at Heathrow sink to 7-year low

Flight delays at Heathrow airport have deteriorated by 9% in the past quarter with over three in 10 flight now late, according to the latest CAA figures.The figures for January to March 2008 show the overall on-time performance (defined as early to 15 minutes late) of scheduled flights at the ten UK airports monitored fell by 4% to 68%.

At Heathrow, 56% of flights were on time during this period. At London City, 58% of flights were on time (down 12%).

Luton, Gatwick, Stansted and Birmingham all improved their scheduled punctuality performance in the first three months of 2008 compared to 2007. At Luton, on-time performance increased by 5% to 76%, at Gatwick by 4% to 72%, at Stansted by 2% to 80%, and at Birmingham by 1% to 78%.

The average delay across all the scheduled flights monitored rose from 16 minutes in the first quarter of 2007 to 18 minutes in 2008. Average delays decreased at Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham, Stansted and Manchester, whilst increasing at Heathrow, London City, Glasgow and Edinburgh in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007.

Charter Flights

The proportion of on-time charter flights fell by 3% in the first quarter of 2008 to 62%, compared with 65% in the same period the year before. At all monitored airports performance fell compared to the previous year, except for Stansted, where it increased by two percentage points, and Gatwick, where it remained constant.


The average delay across all charter flights monitored increased from 27 minutes in the first quarter of 2007 to 28 minutes in the first quarter of 2008. Stansted, Glasgow and Edinburgh all saw decreases in their average delay.

Destinations with most passengers

Among the 75 scheduled and charter destinations with the most passengers, the scheduled routes to Dubai, Istanbul and Helsinki had on-time performances of less than 50%. Dubai and Istanbul had average delays above 30 minutes.

Tenerife (Sur Reina) was the only charter destination among the top 75. It attained an on-time performance of 73% and an average delay of 19 minutes.

Guernsey had the highest on-time performance (86 per cent) and Shannon had the shortest average delay (nine minutes) amongst the top 75 destinations.