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Variable punctuality for UK flights

The punctuality of scheduled airlines during the third quarter of 2005 improved slightly compared with the same period in 2004.During the same period, the punctuality of charter airlines fell, according to figures released by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Scheduled Flights

During July to September 2005 the overall on-time performance (defined as early to 15 minutes late) of scheduled airlines at the ten UK airports monitored rose from 70 to 71 per cent compared with the third quarter of 2004.

Of the ten monitored airports, Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh recorded an improvement in the punctuality of scheduled flights.

Punctuality at Heathrow rose from 61 per cent in the third quarter of 2004 to 68 per cent in the third quarter of 2005.


The on-time performance at Gatwick was 69 per cent in the third quarter of 2004, but fell to 59 per cent in the third quarter of 2005.

The average delay across all the scheduled flights monitored decreased to 16 minutes in the third quarter of 2005 from 17 minutes in 2004. Gatwick, London City, Birmingham and Newcastle experienced increases in average delay for scheduled flights while all of the other airports either maintained or reduced levels of delay.

Charter Flights

The proportion of on-time charter flights in July to September 2005 was 66 per cent, three percentage points lower than the 2004 figure of 69 per cent.

Charter flight punctuality at the London airports fell from 68 per cent in the third quarter of 2004 to 62 per cent in 2005, while on-time charter performance at the regional airports fell from 69 per cent to 68 per cent in the same period.

The average delay in the third quarter across all the charter flights monitored increased to 31 minutes in 2005 from 26 minutes in 2004.

Glasgow was the only airport where the average charter delay was lower than in 2004.

The statistics are presented to show the scheduled and charter modes separately since the characteristics of these modes are different.

For example, scheduled and charter flights tend to operate to different destinations at different times of the day and week. Because of this, and the exclusion of cancellations from the data, simplistic comparisons between the two modes should be avoided.

Top Destinations

Among the top 75 scheduled and charter destinations, the scheduled routes to Nice, New York (JFK), Rome (Fiumicino), Athens, Larnaca, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon and Budapest all had on-time performances below 60 per cent.

The scheduled destinations with the delays of 22 minutes or more were Toronto, New York (JFK), Athens, Nice, Rome (Fiumicino) and Larnaca. Of the nine charter destinations among the top 75, Corfu had the lowest on-time performance of 60 per cent.

Heraklion was the destination with the highest average delay amongst both scheduled and charter destinations with an average delay of 39 minutes.