Transportation

The Best Airlines and Airports for On-Time Performance

Paul Ausick

While safety is an airline’s primary concern, on-time arrival and departure ranks high with passengers. Nearly half (nine) of the world’s 20 airlines with the best on-time performance in 2019 are based in the Asia Pacific region. Only two North American carriers made the list, and Russian carrier Aeroflot led the six European airlines among the top 20.

The data was reported Friday by airline industry research firm OAG Aviation Worldwide in its annual Punctuality League report. According to OAG, the two North American airlines with the best on-time records last year were Hawaiian Airlines (#4 at 87.4%) and Delta (#14 at 83.56%). On-time is defined to be within 15 minutes of a scheduled arrival or departure time.

The Punctuality League tables were based on 57.7 million flight records, and OAG divides airlines into five categories: top 20, mega carriers, mainline carriers, low-cost carriers and regional carriers. Airports are categorized based on size: small, medium, large, major and mega.

Among all airlines, regardless of size, passengers on Garuda Indonesia will arrive and depart on-time for 19 out of 20 flights. Garuda delivers an impressive 95% on-time performance (OTP). Panama’s Copa Airlines is nearly as good, with an OTP score of 92%. Copa’s score might have been lower due to the grounding of six Boeing 737 Max jets in its 98-plane fleet. Garuda has just one 737 Max among its fleet of 146 aircraft.

Here’s OAG’s ranking of the world’s top 20 airlines based on on-time performance.

Rank Airline OTP 2019
 1 Garuda Indonesia 95.01%
 2 Copa Airlines 92.01%
 3 Skymark Airlines 90.12%
 4 Hawaiian Airlines 87.40%
 5 LATAM Airlines Group 86.41%
 6 Aeroflot 86.30%
 7 All Nippon Airways 85.92%
 8 Jetstar Asia 85.48%
 9 Singapore Airlines 85.32%
10 Thai AirAsia 84.49%
11 Iberia 84.06%
12 Siberia Airlines 83.88%
13 Air Baltic 83.63%
14 Delta Air Lines 83.56%
15 Japan Airlines 83.44%
16 Sky Airline 83.42%
17 Etihad Airways 83.40%
18 Qantas Airways 82.96%
19 Jet2.com 82.69%
20 Indonesia AirAsia 82.41%

For an airport to be considered among the world’s most punctual, it must serve at least 2.5 million departing seats in a year, and OTP is based on both arrival and departure data. The world’s mega airports serve more than 30 million departing seats. Size is just one aspect of what makes an airport among the best — and these are the best-run airports in the world.

The honor for the best small (2.5 million to 5.0 million seats) airport OTP in the United States goes to Boise, with a score of 85.34%, sixth-best in the world. Reno ranks 10th at 83.46%. Sacramento, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Columbus and Indianapolis are among the 20 best medium-size (5 million to 10 million seats) airports. Among large (10 million to 20 million seats) airports, Honolulu, Salt Lake City, Portland, San Jose, Washington Dulles, San Diego, Austin and Philadelphia rank in the top 20, while 10 major (20 million to 30 million seats) U.S. airports make the top 20 list: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Detroit, Charlotte, Phoenix, Miami, Houston, Las Vegas, Orlando, Boston and Fort Lauderdale.

The following table shows the world’s top 10 airports for OTP. Six are located in the United States, and among the world’s top 20, two more U.S. airports make the grade, Chicago O’Hare and San Francisco.

Airport Country Punctuality (%)
Moscow Sheremetyevo Russia 86.87
Tokyo Haneda Japan 86.60
Changi Singapore 84.03
Atlanta U.S. 83.74
Seattle U.S. 80.27
Madrid Spain 79.92
Los Angeles U.S. 79.62
John F. Kennedy U.S. 77.87
Denver U.S. 76.93
Dallas/Fort Worth U.S. 76.78

Source: OAG Aviation Worldwide Ltd.
Note: Rankings for airports catering to airlines with more than 30 million seats.