Which Airline Was Britain And Ireland’s Most Punctual In 2019?

Earlier today we reported that Cirium had crowned Aeroflot as the most punctual airline in the world for 2019. However, how do British and Irish airlines fare? Cirium helped us find out.

Virgin Atlantic, On Time Performance, British Airways, Ryanair, easyJet, Aer Lingus
Which UK & Ireland airline was the most punctual in 2019? Photo: Getty Images

Over the past five years, punctuality in Britain and Ireland has generally decreased. In 2015, of the five airlines recorded, average punctuality sat at 78.14%, with the highest by an airline being Ryanair at 85.14%. By 2019, this had fallen, not a huge amount, to 76.21%. However, the highest on-time performance from a single airline was Virgin Atlantic with just 78.23%. How did each airline fare in 2019, and how have things changed over the years?

2019 figures

Data experts Cirium have ranked airlines from the United Kingdom and Ireland on their on-time performance over the past 5 years, and the results are interesting. Let’s start by just looking at 2019’s figures. Virgin Atlantic was the most punctual airline of the lot at 78.23%, however, it also had the fewest flights at just 22,362.

Virgin Atlantic, On Time Performance, British Airways, Ryanair, easyJet, Aer Lingus
Airlines’ on-time performance against the number of operations. Data: Cirium | Graph: Simple Flying

In second place came the British flag carrier, British Airways. The airline operated over ten times more flights than Virgin Atlantic with 293,415 movements. However, its punctuality was less than two percent lower at 76.98%.

Ireland’s low-cost carrier, Ryanair, clocked third place with a total on-time performance of any of the airlines. However, Michael O’Leary’s airline operated the greatest number of flights at 748,104.

Ryanair was followed in fourth place by Aer Lingus, Ireland’s full-service carrier. Aer Lingus came fourth in thems of operations, and punctuality, with only one-tenth of Ryanair’s operations. Aer Lingus’ 75.23% on-time performance covered just 74,112 flights.

Ryanair, easyjet, Peter Bellew
Ryanair has beaten easyJet every year except for 2018. Photo: Getty Images

According to Cirium’s analysis of the on-time performance of UK and Ireland carriers, easyJet came last in terms of performance with just 73.78% of flights arriving on time. However, the airline operated the most flights behind Ryanair with 609,842 operations. Along with British Airways, easyJet has not featured in the number one spot in the last five years.

Virgin Atlantic hasn’t always been top

When it comes to airline punctuality, Virgin Atlantic hasn’t always been the top dog. If you only take into account services operated by the carrier, Ryanair was the most punctual airline in 2015 and 2016 with 85.14% and 82.26% on-time performance respectively.

2020, What to Watch, Aviation
Will Virgin Atlantic keep its top spot as we enter 2020? Photo: Getty Images

Aer Lingus briefly enjoyed the top spot in 2017 with 81.55%, before passing the baton to Virgin Atlantic for 2018. In three of the last four years, easyJet came bottom of the pack. However, in 2018, Ryanair came bottom with 71.35%. This was the same year that the Irish low-cost carrier faced cabin crew strikes.

All of the data presented in this article was kindly provided by Cirium.com.

Do you think Virgin Atlantic deserves its place at the top? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!