World’s Best Airlines, Airports for On-Time Service

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If getting to your destination safely is the most desirable feature of an airline, probably the next-most desirable is that it get you there on time. Among the world’s largest airlines, only six exceed an 80% on-time record and none exceeds 90%. Set your expectations accordingly.

And then there are airports. How well do they perform when scrutinized by their scheduled arrival and departure times?

British travel data firm OAG has released its 2017 rankings of airlines and airports based on on-time performance (OTP). For an airline this means flights arrive or depart in less than 15 minutes of their scheduled times, including cancellations. To qualify an airline had to have been among the top 250 airlines as measured by available seat kilometers. OTP is based on arrivals only. The top category of “Mega Airlines” includes the world’s top 20 carriers in terms of scheduled flights in 2017.

Airports are divided into five categories based on departing seats. A minimum of 2.5 million is needed to be included, and the top category is dubbed “Mega Airports,” or those that count more than 30 million departing seats a year.

Among the world’s mega airlines, five U.S. carriers make the top 10. Here are the top 10, along with their 2017 OTP:

  1. Japan Airlines: 85.27%
  2. All Nippon Airways: 83.81%
  3. Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL): 82.76%
  4. IndiGo: 81.22%
  5. Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE: ALK): 81.06%
  6. SAS: 80.9%
  7. United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL)/United Airlines: 79.86%
  8. LATAM Airlines: 79.39%
  9. American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL): 78.97%
  10. Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) and British Airways: 78.55%

When the mega airlines are compared as one of the mainline carriers, Japan Air Lines finished sixth behind airBaltic (90.01% OTP), Hong Kong Airlines (88.83%), Hawaiian Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HA)/Hawaiian Airlines (87.24%); Copa Airlines (86.39%); and Qantas Airways (86.18%).

Among the world’s mega airports, four U.S. airports were rated among the top 10 for OTP:

  1. Tokyo Haneda (HND): 86.75%
  2. Madrid (MAD): 83.63%
  3. Atlanta (ATL): 82.38%
  4. Denver (DEN): 82.24%
  5. Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW): 81.36%
  6. Singapore Changi (SIN): 80.57%
  7. Chicago O’Hare (ORD): 79.85%
  8. Amsterdam (AMS): 77.09%
  9. Frankfurt (FRA): 76.35%
  10. London Heathrow (LHR): 76.35%

OAG’s full report, including detailed data on low-cost carriers, regional airlines and airports of all sizes, is available at the firm’s website.