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Punctuality improves at Heathrow and Gatwick

[December 5th 2008]

There were fewer flight delays at Heathrow and Gatwick airports according to the latest figures from the Civil Aviation Authority.

On-time performance at both Heathrow and Gatwick improved by 6% in the third quarter of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007. On-time is defined as within 15 minutes of the scheduled departure time.

At other London airports, Stansted and London City, on-time performance also improved, in both cases by 5%. But at Luton airport only 64% of flights were on time in the third quarter of 2008, a decline of 4% compared to 2007.

Outside London the biggest improvements in on-time performance were recorded at Scottish airports. At Edinburgh airport, there was a dramatic 10% improvement as 77% of flights left on time. Glasgow airport saw a 6% improvement as 76% of flights departed on time.

The CAA statistics also look at average flight delays at UK airports. The average delay for all the scheduled flights monitored fell by two minutes in the third quarter of 2008 to 17 minutes.

At Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, London City, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle airports average delays decreased. But Luton airport was again the worst performer as average flight delays increased by three minutes to 20 minutes.

The CAA figures also provide useful guidance on which airports to avoid when flying abroad. Of the 75 scheduled and charter destinations handling the largest number of passengers in the third quarter of 2008, Athens airport had the worst on-time performance. Only just over half, 52%, of flights left on time from Athens airport. The highest average flight delay, of 29 minutes, was recorded by Toronto airport.

Beware of flying to Bodrum (Milas) airport in Turkey. This was the worst charter destination, with average flight delays of 35 minutes and on-time performance of just 55%.

The best performing airport of the top 75 scheduled and charter destinations was Rotterdam airport. Here on-time performance was a very creditable 85% and average delays only eight minutes.

Written by: Nick Purdom