Turbulent Year for European Airlines | OAG

Industrial action and weather put dent in the OTP for regional airlines and airports; Paris CDG takes the biggest hit

Key findings:

  • Air traffic control (ATC) issues negatively impacted major airports across Europe. Paris CDG, a regular contender among the world’s Mega Airports, fell out of this year’s top 20. Despite similar declines in on-time performance (OTP), London Heathrow (15th; OTP 74.54 percent) and Frankfurt (19th; OTP 70.83 percent) both managed to hold onto top 20 spots.
  • Defying the odds, a slight increase in OTP positioned Amsterdam (AMS) to hold onto the eighth spot on this year’s list of Mega Airports (OTP 77.77 percent).
  • British Airways (OTP 76.07 percent) ranked as Europe’s most punctual Mega Airline and the 10th most-punctual Mega Airline in the world. Up one spot from last year, easyJet finished 14th among Mega Airlines with an OTP of 72.7 percent.
  • AirBaltic (OTP 89.41 percent) retained its place as the most punctual airline in Europe and the second most punctual in the world.
  • Qatar Airways (OTP 85.04 percent) finished as the most punctual airline in the Middle East for a second straight year. Emirates finished in second with an OTP of 81.46 percent.
  • Dramatic OTP improvements earned Latin American-based Copa Airlines the title of the world’s most punctual airline (OTP 89.63 percent). Regional peer LATAM Airlines Group trailed closely behind in eighth (OTP 85.3 percent).

LUTON, U.K. – January 3, 2019 – OAG, the world’s leading provider of travel data and insight, today released the results of the OAG Punctuality League 2019. The report provides a comprehensive ranking of the world’s largest airlines and airports in terms of on-time performance (OTP).  This year, regional disruptions in air traffic control (ATC) created a tough environment for Europe’s airlines and airports.

Drops in OTP proved to be mostly consistent across all European airports. Most notably, Paris CDG, a regular contender among the world’s top Mega Airports, failed to make this year’s top 20. Down from second, Madrid (MAD) ranked sixth in this year’s Mega Airport rankings with an OTP of 79.28 percent. London Heathrow (LHR; OTP 75.54 percent) and Frankfurt (FRA; OTP 70.83 percent) both lagged behind previous performances — however not enough to leave them out of the top 20, where they ranked 15th and 19th, respectively. Amsterdam (AMS; OTP 77.7 percent) managed to defy the odds and retained its eighth spot among the world’s largest airports with a <1 percent increase in OTP.

On the carrier side, British Airways (OTP 76.07 percent) was Europe’s most punctual Mega Airline and the 10th most-punctual Mega Airline in the world. airBaltic, despite a small decline in OTP, ranked as the second most-punctual airline in the world (OTP 89.41 percent). Facing similar repercussions from market challenges, easyJet moved up one spot to rank 14th among the world’s largest carriers (OTP 72.7 percent). 

Showing across-the-board improvements, Qatar Airways moved up five spots to ninth overall in the world (OTP 86.04 percent) and No. 1 in the Middle East. KLM also improved significantly from 2018 – moving up 19 spots to rank 11th with an OTP of 84.57 percent.

Many of Europe’s low-cost carriers (LCCs) fell in this year’s rankings, mostly due to factors outside of operational control. The region finished with only two airlines – Transavia (OTP 81.7 percent) and Norwegian (OTP 74.94 percent) – in the top 20 global LCC rankings, compared to five last year.

“2018 was a tough year for Europe’s aviation market. The region’s airlines and airports faced a perfect storm of industrial action, supplier issues and inclement weather – all of which combined to have a big impact on OTP,” said John Grant, senior analyst with OAG. “Considering the difficult circumstances, many of the region’s top carriers and airports performed quite admirably.”

Additional regional highlights from OAG’s 2019 Punctuality League include:

  • Among European airlines, Iberia finished third (OTP 83.19 percent), Alitalia fourth (OTP 82.72 percent), Finnair seventh (OTP 79.05 percent) and Aer Lingus eighth (OTP 79.0 percent).
  • Moscow Sheremetyevo improved from third to take this year’s No. 1 spot (SVO; OTP 87.64 percent) in the Major Airport rankings. Also in Russia, Minsk National Airport led the way in this year’s small airport category (MSQ; OTP 92.37 percent).
  • Qatar’s Doha International (DOH) retained its second-place ranking among the world’s Major Airports with an OTP of 85.05 percent.
  • Leading the world in terms of OTP, Latin-American based Copa Airlines (OTP 89.63 percent) secured the No. 1 spot among the world’s most punctual air carriers. Ranked eighth, regional peer LATAM Global Airlines trailed closely behind with an OTP of 85.3 percent.

“On-time performance is one of the single most important metrics in the travel industry. Every on-time arrival and departure creates a significant trickle-down impact that affects travellers, other airlines and airports, business, travel suppliers and more,” added Grant.

The OAG Punctuality League is derived from the most comprehensive airline schedules database in the world and is the most transparent global benchmark for the world’s airlines and airports. This year’s report is based on over 57 million flight records using full year data from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018.

To qualify for inclusion in the OAG Punctuality League, the OAG schedules database must have data for at least 80 percent of all scheduled flights operated by an airline or for an airport. OAG’s definition of on-time performance (OTP) is flights that arrive or depart within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival/departure times.

For more insights from the OAG Punctuality League 2019, download a copy of the full report.


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Media Contact: 
Caroline Mather 
Email: pressoffice@oag.com