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Wizz Air Voted as the Least Punctual Airline in the UK

Data also revealed that British Airways recorded longer average delays than both EasyJet and Ryanair in 2023.

Wizz Air has been identified as the worst airline for delays in the UK, according to data released by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The budget airline’s UK departures averaged 31 minutes and 36 seconds behind schedule in 2023, improving their flight delay average by nearly one third compared to data from 2022.

The Hungarian carrier has now recorded the worst punctuality for UK flights three years running.

Turkish Airlines was named the second worst for punctuality in 2023, a whole three minutes behind Wizz Air, followed by Tui’s 28 minutes and 24 seconds.

British Airways (BA) rounded off the top 10 worst airlines for delays with an average wait of 21 minutes and 36 seconds, which was a longer wait average than both EasyJet and Ryanair.

Of the best performing carriers operating in the UK, Irish company Emerald Airlines recorded the lowest average delays last year with an average time of 13 minutes and 6 seconds.

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Virgin Atlantic ranked second best on delays averaging 13 minutes and 42 seconds.

Wizz Air’s UK operation currently serves airports in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Gatwick, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, and Luton.

Despite its poor UK punctuality, the no-frills airline—which operates in Europe, north Africa, the Middle East, and Asia—saw passenger numbers reach a record 62 million in the year to the end of March, up by more than a fifth on the total of 51.1 million in the previous 12 months.

Over the same period, Wizz Air recorded a pre-tax profit of £290.4 million, as its revenue from ticket sales per available seat rose by about 11 percent year-on-year, which was similar to fare rises across the airline sector.

Aviation consultant John Strickland said on Thursday that Wizz Air had “many unhappy customers”—particularly in 2022—as it struggled with punctuality owing to being “over ambitious” in terms of how many flights it could operate reliably after COVID-19 travel restrictions eased.

Mr. Strickland said the airline has “put a lot of effort in” to improve through measures such as replanning rosters and having more standby aircraft available, but “the fruits of that will not be seen immediately.”

Asked why it has been able to boost passenger numbers despite suffering delays, the aviation expert cited factors such as being “price competitive” and having the most capacity on many routes serving Central and Eastern Europe.

A Wizz Air spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement that in 2022, “like all airlines in Europe, Wizz Air experienced extraordinary operating challenges driven mostly by the external environment.”

“Since then,” they added, “we have invested more than £90 million to stabilise operations, reduce the number of delays and provide a better experience for customers.”

“While we saw significant improvements in 2023, there was still work to be done,” the spokesperson said.

Longest delays from UK airports in 2023. (PA)
Longest delays from UK airports in 2023. (PA)

The company told The Epoch Times that despite delays, it has the best flight completion rate in Europe, at 99.9 percent.

“Helping our customers reach their destination is our number of priority and we will continue to invest in our service to ensure they get there on time.”

The CAA data encompass flights from all UK airports, highlighting a systemic issue within the airline’s operations.

The average delay for all flights in the UK was 20 minutes and 42 seconds, improving by more than two minutes overall, compared to 2022 data.

The analysis took into account all scheduled and chartered departures from UK airports by airlines operating more than 2,500 flights and did not include cancelled flights.

Further CAA data found that British Airways cancelled 3.3 percent of its flights less than 24 hours before they were due to depart in 2023.

The figures suggest only Loganair performed worse than the British national carrier, and it can reasonably hold the excuse of unfavorable strong winds along its flight paths across the Scottish isles.

Of all the BA flights that did leave the tarmac, only 61 percent of flights landed on time.

Responding to The Epoch Times, a BA spokesperson said in an email on Thursday, “Our teams work incredibly hard to get people away on time and we apologize to customers for any disruptions they’ve faced during these challenging periods.”

The company claimed “like other airlines,” it too “experienced a number of issues outside of our control that have had an impact on our customers, such as air traffic control industrial action, the national air traffic control system outage and poor weather conditions.”

PA Media contributed to this report.

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