Worst airline for UK flight delays named with average wait of 31 minutes - as another is awarded most punctual short-haul UK carrier

Wizz Air plane / Jet2 plane

The most and least punctual airlines have been named

Anna Barry

By Anna Barry

Published: 19/06/2024

- 21:00

Updated: 20/06/2024

- 10:26

Britons planning their summer holidays have been warned that Wizz Air has the longest average delays for UK-departing flights

Britons heading abroad do not want their travel plans scuppered by flight delays, but according to a new investigation about UK-departing flights, some airlines are more likely to get you to your destination later than others.

Holidaymakers have been advised that Wizz Air is the worst airline for UK flight delays despite a surge in fares.

In 2023, the carrier's departures from UK airports were on average 31 minutes and 36 seconds behind schedule, according to an analysis of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data by the PA news agency.

This was a reduction of nearly a third compared with 2022, however, the airline did record the worst punctuality for UK flights for three consecutive years.

Wizz Air plane

Wizz Air's average delay for UK flights is 31 minutes and 36 seconds

Wizz Air

Wizz Air said it has made "significant improvements" but acknowledged there is "still work to be done".

A spokeswoman said: "In 2022, like all airlines in Europe, Wizz Air experienced extraordinary operating challenges driven mostly by the external environment.

"Since then, we have invested more than £90million 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.

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

The spokesperson added that the airline’s current performance is "among the strongest in the entire industry", with a punctuality record that is "the highest among our direct competitors" and "the best flight completion rate in the whole of Europe".

Turkish Airlines provided the second-longest average UK flight delays of 28 minutes and 36 seconds. Tui customers departing from the UK dealt with an average delay of 28 minutes and 24 seconds.

As for UK airlines, British Airways had the longest average UK flight delay of 21 minutes and 36 seconds, with easyJet following at 21 minutes and 30 seconds.

Longest average delay per departing flight to the shortest (departing from the UK)

  1. Wizz Air (31 minutes and 36 seconds)
  2. Turkish Airlines (28 minutes and 36 seconds)
  3. Tui (28 minutes and 24 seconds)
  4. Air India (28 minutes and 12 seconds)
  5. Pegasus Airlines (25 minutes and six seconds)
  6. Air Portugal (23 minutes and 48 seconds)
  7. Vueling Airlines (23 minutes and six seconds)
  8. Swiss Airlines (22 minutes and 48 seconds)
  9. Air Canada (22 minutes and six seconds)
  10. British Airways (21 minutes and 36 seconds)
  11. EasyJet (21 minutes and 30 seconds)
  12. Aurigny Air Services (20 minutes and 48 seconds)
  13. Stobart Air (20 minutes and 42 seconds)
  14. Ryanair (19 minutes and 54 seconds)
  15. Loganair (19 minutes and six seconds)
  16. American Airlines (18 minutes and 48 seconds)
  17. Eastern Airways (18 minutes and 42 seconds)
  18. Air France (18 minutes and 36 seconds)
  19. Emirates (18 minutes and 30 seconds)
  20. Lufthansa (18 minutes and 30 seconds)
  21. Eurowings (17 minutes and 54 seconds)
  22. Jet2.com (17 minutes and 48 seconds)
  23. Norwegian Air (17 minutes and 48 seconds)
  24. Aer Lingus (17 minutes and 24 seconds)
  25. Qatar (16 minutes and 24 seconds)
  26. KLM (15 minutes and 54 seconds)
  27. United Airlines (15 minutes and 36 seconds)
  28. Blue Islands (15 minutes and six seconds)
  29. Delta Airlines (15 minutes)
  30. Iberia (14 minutes and 24 seconds)
  31. SAS (14 minutes)
  32. Virgin Atlantic (13 minutes and 42 seconds)
  33. Emerald Airlines (13 minutes and six seconds)

Loganair had the third longest average delay of UK airlines, at 19 minutes and six seconds.

Jet2 was deemed to be the most punctual UK airline, with an average UK flight delay of 17 minutes and 48 seconds.


Jet2 plane

Jet2's average delay for UK flights is 17 minutes and 48 seconds


CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays Steve Heapy, said: "We flew millions of customers away to enjoy their well-deserved holidays in 2023 and this exhaustive data shows that we outperformed our competitors when it came to getting them away on time.

"This is because we have continually invested in our world-class operation, which goes alongside the industry-leading customer service that we are famed for.

"From maintenance and engineering through to operations, ground handling and flight planning, every single colleague Jet2.com colleague cares passionately about doing the right thing for customers and that effort shines through in this data."

The most on-time airline based on UK flight punctuality was found to be Emerald Airlines, with an average delay of 13 minutes and six seconds.

A Wizz Air spokesperson told GB News: "These figures are out of date and not representative of Wizz Air’s current performance, which is among the strongest in the entire industry. Our on-time performance for flights departing to and from the UK has increased by 14.6 per cent to 71.7 per cent, which is higher than our direct competitors. We also have the best flight completion rate in the whole of Europe at 99.9 per cent.

“On top of that, the methodology used to interpret the CAA data is flawed and does not compare like with like. The airlines referenced are vastly different in size and route mix, meaning all context is lost. For example, the issues with UK, German, French and Italian air traffic control last year - all of which were out of our control - had a much bigger impact on our operations than on some of the other carriers referenced.

“We will always acknowledge when performance is not up to our standards, but it is clear from all the latest data that we have significantly improved our operations since the challenges we faced in 2022, and are now one of the strongest-performing airlines in Europe. Our priority remains helping customers reach their destinations on time and we will invest further in our service to ensure those improvements continue.”

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