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The world’s most punctual airlines for 2023

by Staff


Too often, headlines about airlines and airports focus on the bad – extensive delays, inclement weather, nightmare passengers and the like.

So when there’s a chance to celebrate something good in the aviation world, it requires a look.

Aviation analytics company Cirium has crunched the numbers to reveal which airlines and airports around the world have the best on-time ratings. No matter where in the world you live – or are planning to go – these stats give some hope that your next trip can be smooth sailing.

Although Cirium recognizes winners in different continents, the overall prize for Most Punctual Airline was won by Avianca, the Colombian flag carrier. Usually styled with a lowercase A at the beginning, it’s part of the Star Alliance network.

While Avianca got overall recognition, the airline nabbing the title of most punctual in South America was Copa, the national airline of Panama.

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

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Delta Air Lines scored high marks in North America.

However, digging a bit deeper into the data shows a more diverse portrait of punctual planes.

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

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

Also scoring highly were Qatar Airways (85.11%) and Japan Airlines (82.58%).

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

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

Cirium also shouted out smaller, low-cost carriers. The top five were Safair (South Africa), Azul (Brazil), Hong Kong Express, JetStar Japan and Iberia Express (Spain).

The full report also noted that not all delays are the fault of the airline itself. Weather, airport traffic and staffing issues can also be contributing factors.

Anthony Souffle/AP

Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport (MSP) took the prize in the large-size airport category.

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

The most punctual medium-sized airport was Osaka International (ITM) in Japan. However, that’s not the primary air hub for Osaka, as most international visitors come via Kansai International Airport (KIX), about an hour outside the city.

Osaka International, also called Itami, is a smaller airport that – despite its name – acts as a domestic 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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