WestJet tops Air Canada in on-time performance: report

A view of Air Canada and WestJet planes at Calgary International Airport. On Monday, September 10th, 2018, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A new report assessing airline punctuality has found that Canadian carriers lag behind their competitors, with Air Canada reporting the worst performance among 20 of the world’s biggest airlines.

OAG, a global travel data and insight company, released its 2019 rankings of the on-time performance of global airlines and airports on Friday. The report counts on-time performance as a flight that arrives or departs within 15 minutes of its scheduled time. Cancellations are counted as late flights in the calculations.

For the second year in a row, Air Canada has found itself last among among the top 20 “mega airlines” around the world in terms of scheduled flights, with an on-time performance rating of 66 per cent, behind Air China (69 per cent) and China Eastern Airlines (73 per cent). While some airlines managed to improve their on-time performance year-over-year (Air France’s jumped from 74 per cent in 2018 to 80 per cent in 2019), Air Canada’s fell, if slightly, from 67 per cent in 2018 to 66 per cent in 2019.

The top so-called “mega airlines” in the world in terms of punctuality was Chile-based LATAM Airlines, with 86 per cent of its flights arriving on time, followed by Russia’s Aeroflot and Japan’s All Nippon Airways.

WestJet reported a better on-time performance than its Canadian rival at 80 per cent, making it the No. 15 low-cost carrier out the top 20 in the world. The performance also made it the 6th most on-time airline in North America.

Air Canada and WestJet were the only two Canadian airlines in the ranking.

North American airlines generally lagged behind global competitors when it came to on-time performance, with just two airlines (Hawaiian Airlines and Delta Air Lines) cracking the worldwide top 20 list. The top airline overall was Garuda Indonesia (95 per cent) followed Panama’s Cop Airlines (92 per cent) and Japan’s Skymark Airlines (90 per cent).

“The global market is reaching near peak OTP,” OAG senior analyst John Grant said in a news release.

“The rise in performance is led by Mega Airlines like Aeroflot, Delta and Air France, which are simultaneously expanding the number of operated flights and maintaining high OTP. We’re seeing success trickle down to the hubs they service, which benefits the entire travel ecosystem.”

Air Canada recently faced a barrage of social media complaints following the introduction of a new reservation system. The company said in a statement to the Canadian Press last month that it was working to resolve issues “as soon as possible.”

With files from the Canadian Press

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