The budget airline Wizz Air was the worst performer for UK flight delays among its peers last year, according to analysis that has raised fresh concerns about government plans to slash customer compensation schemes.
The Hungarian carrier – which operates short-haul flights from 10 UK airports, including Belfast International, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Gatwick and Luton – was found to have flights running an average of 14 minutes and 24 second behind schedule in 2021, months before the latest travel chaos took hold.
Civil Aviation Authority data analysed by the PA Media identified Tui Airways as the second worst for punctuality on UK-departing flights, followed by British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Loganair.
The budget airlines easyJet and Ryanair – two of the most-booked airlines in the UK – emerged as the most punctual among their peers. Only Ireland’s flag carrier, Aer Lingus, performed better, with a typical delay of three minutes and 12 seconds.
Overall, flight punctuality was better in 2021 than before the Covid pandemic due to travel restrictions that reduced the number of flights. However, the situation has deteriorated this year, with staff shortages leaving airports and airlines struggling to keep up with a rebound in travel after Covid restrictions were lifted. The recruitment problems have led to tens of thousands of flights being cancelled.
Consumer champions are calling for a U-turn on government plans to overhaul passenger compensation packages for UK flights.
Currently, someone on an internal flight from Edinburgh to London is entitled to claim £220 once their flight has been delayed by three hours, unless it was caused by extraordinary circumstances such as bad weather.