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More charter airlines are flying on time

First improvement in delays stats since 2003

A plane in the sky

Charter airlines improved their punctuality last summer – but only just, figures published today show.

More than one in ten holiday flights (10.6%) were delayed by at least an hour in 2006, a study from the Air Transport Users Council (AUC) shows.

The figure represents only a slight overall improvement from 2005 (when 10.9% were more than an hour behind schedule) but is the first improvement since 2003.

Spanish carrier Air Europa came out best in this year’s charter delay league table with only 2.5 per cent waiting for more than 60 minutes while UK-based MyTravel Airways UK was the best of the bigger players with 5.4 per cent.

The worst showing was for Spanair, a smaller operator, with 25.3 per cent delayed by an hour or more.

CAA statistics

The table is based on Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) statistics collected at Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle and Stansted airports.

While MyTravel showed its third successive improvement, other well-known charter operators fared less well.

First Choice Airways came in fifth best overall with 8.8 per cent more than an hour late, but the figure represented a decline from the previous year when it stood at just 5.7 per cent.

Similarly Thomsonfly saw delays of more than 60 minutes grow from 6.4 per cent to 8.8 per cent but Thomas Cook Airlines saw an improvement from 11.9 per cent to 8.9 per cent.

Overall, the average delay was 26.9 minutes – an improvement on the previous year’s 28 minutes but considerably more than the 2003 average which was just 19.7 minutes.

‘Slight improvement’

AUC chairman Tina Tietjen said: ‘When we published our delay league table last year for summer 2005, we said we were looking for charter airlines to bounce back and improve their punctuality for summer season 2006 after two years of declining punctuality.

‘Well, we are pleased to report that they have – just.

‘Last summer saw a slight improvement in the overall charter airline punctuality performance compared to the year before.

‘However charter airline passengers still suffered more, and, on average, longer, delays during the summer of 2006 than they had three years previously.

‘MyTravel Airways, which for the third year running has improved its punctuality performance, is again setting the benchmark for other carriers this year.

‘Both its percentage of flights delayed, and its average delay, are nearly half that of the overall average – a commendable achievement.’

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