Low-cost airline Wizz Air was the worst performer for UK flight delays among its peers last year, according to an analysis that has raised fresh concerns over government plans to slash travel regimes. customer compensation.
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 on average 14 minutes and 24 seconds late in 2021, months before the last trip chaos set in.
Civil Aviation Authority data analyzed by PA Media identified Tui Airways as the second worst for punctuality on flights departing from the UK, followed by British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Loganair.
Low-cost airlines easyJet and Ryanair – two of the UK’s most booked airlines – emerged as the most punctual among their peers. Only Irish 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 which 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. Recruitment problems have led to the cancellation of tens of thousands of flights.
Consumer champions are calling for a U-turn on government plans to overhaul passenger compensation schemes for UK flights.
“While these results are worrying, the reality has actually been much worse for many travelers this summer,” said Guy Hobbs, editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel. “Vacationers have faced a barrage of disruption over the past few months, and these latest figures only underscore the need for urgent reform in the travel industry.
“The government must abandon plans to reduce passenger compensation for delayed and canceled domestic flights,” Hobbs said.
The Department for Transport (DfT) announced in January that it was considering revising the rules around air passenger rights for flights within the UK as part of its post-Brexit reforms.
Currently, someone on a domestic flight from Edinburgh to London is entitled to claim £220 once their flight has been delayed for three hours, unless it was caused by extraordinary circumstances such as bad weather.
The compensation due is fixed and is not linked to the price paid by the passenger. However, under the proposed changes, the sum would be linked to the fare, meaning a passenger who had paid £50 for a domestic flight would receive £12.50 back after a 90-minute delay.
The Department for Transport did not comment on the overhaul of the compensation scheme, but said it was up to the travel industry to ensure passengers “can get away from it all on their well-earned summer vacation”.
The spokesperson said the government had made efforts to support the industry, including through expedited checks which helped speed up recruitment. “These measures are working and flight cancellations have recently returned to 2019 levels following the changes, which provide passengers with more certainty,” they said.
Wizz Air has been contacted for comment.
Average flight delays from UK airports in 2021
1 Wizz Air: 14 minutes and 24 seconds
2 Tui Airways: 13 minutes and 18 seconds
3 British Airways: 12 minutes and 42 seconds
4 Virgin Atlantic: 12 minutes
5 Loganair: 11 minutes and 30 seconds
6 Air France: 11 minutes and 12 seconds
7 Lufthansa: 10 minutes
8 KLM: eight minutes and 42 seconds
9 Eastern Airways: seven minutes and 48 seconds
10 Jet2.com: seven minutes and 42 seconds
11 American Airlines: seven minutes
12 Ryanair: six minutes and six seconds
13 EasyJet: four minutes and 36 seconds
14 Aer Lingus: three minutes and 12 seconds