World’s most punctual airlines in 2023

(CNN) — Too often, airline and airport headlines focus on the bad things: long delays, bad weather, passenger nightmares, etc.

So when there’s an opportunity to celebrate something good happening in the world of aviation, it’s worth taking notice.

Aviation analytics company Cirium analyzed a number of indicators to reveal which airlines and airports around the world have the best on-time ratings. No matter where in the world you live (or plan to visit), these statistics give you some hope that your next trip will be a smooth one.

Flying high

Although Cirium recognizes winners from different continents, the overall award for Most Punctual Airline was won by Colombian airline Avianca. Typically marked with a lowercase A at the beginning of its logo, it is part of the Star Alliance network.

Although Avianca received general recognition, the airline that held the title of most punctual in South America was Copa, Panama’s national airline.

Delta Air Lines earns high marks in North America. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The most punctual airline in Asia was the Japanese All Nippon Airways (ANA). In North America it was Delta Air Lines, while in Europe Iberia Express won the title. The most punctual airline in the Middle East and Africa was Oman Air, which celebrated its 30th birthday in 2023.

However, looking a little deeper into the data reveals a more diverse picture of punctuality.

Cirium looked at several factors when compiling its rankings: on-time arrivals, flights tracked, and total flights taken. According to Cirium’s analysis, 85.73% of Avianca’s arrivals were on time, out of a total of 213,039 flights.

Meanwhile, two US-based airlines – Delta and American Airlines – far outstripped the rest of the list in terms of total flights. Delta had 1,635,486 flights in 2023, with an on-time arrival rate of 84.72%; American was responsible for 1,998,844 flights with a successful on-time arrival record of 80.61%.

Qatar Airways (85.11%) and Japan Airlines (82.58%) also received high marks.

For David White, senior director of innovative initiatives at Cirium, 2023 was a year of resilience for the airline industry after being hit by the pandemic.

“Despite the challenges, major airlines managed to finish the year with impressive on-time performance metrics,” White said in a statement.

Cirium also highlighted smaller, low-cost airlines. Rounding out the top five were Safire (South Africa), Azul (Brazil), Hong Kong Express, Jetstar Japan and Iberia Express (Spain).

Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) won the award in the large airport category. Credit: Anthony Soufflé/AP

The full report also states that not all delays are the airline’s fault. Weather, airport traffic and staffing problems may also be contributing factors.

airport rewards

According to Cirium, the world’s best airport for punctuality in 2023 was Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP) in Minnesota.

The most punctual medium-sized airport was Osaka International Airport (ITM) in Japan. However, it is not Osaka’s main air hub, as most international visitors arrive via Kansai International Airport (KIX), about an hour from the city.

Osaka International Airport, also known as Itami, is a small airport which, despite its name, serves as a national hub in the country.

Meanwhile, the winner in the small airport category was Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO), which serves Quito, Ecuador.


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