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Passenger flight punctuality

2018 data on punctuality collected from the airport members of the working group ACI Europe-EAPN (European Airport Punctuality Network) highlight a decline in performance at European level both for departures and arrivals compared to 2017. On average, the punctuality of departing flights in 2018 was 71.2% compared to 75.7% recorded in the previous year, with significant monthly fluctuations ranging from a maximum of 81% in January to a minimum of 59% in July. Arriving flights recorded average punctuality of 75.1%, slightly reducing on last year (78.6%), with monthly fluctuations similar to those for departing flights.

The first quarter of the year, characterized by a relatively mild climate, recorded the year’s highest punctuality in each airport category. The third quarter, on the other hand, characterized by intensified summer traffic, recorded the year’s lowest punctuality both on arrival and on departure. Among the most significant consequences of the general increase in traffic were airport capacity problems at many airports and difficulties experienced by European air traffic controllers in managing the overall capacity of the system, especially in the central European ACCs which, in addition to technical problems, also experienced issues generated by work stoppages. Furthermore, summer weather conditions (wind and strong storms) contributed to the deterioration of punctuality data, especially at the airports of Frankfurt and Barcelona. Negative impacts on flight regularity were also caused by several safety issues: a fire alarm at London Heathrow in July lead to the evacuation of its control tower; on July 28, in Munich, a passenger evaded security checks, resulting in the closure of the airport for several hours; a drone incursion at Gatwick airport caused cancellations, delays and 3 days of inconvenience for passengers during the Christmas period, from December 19 to 21.

Average European departure delays increased in comparison to arrivals (downturn in punctuality), except for Malpensa, London Heathrow and London Gatwick, notwithstanding the difficulties in December.

With punctuality confirmed at around 75.5%, Malpensa ranks above the European average and is the best amongst the European airports of similar size (including Vienna and Athens) within its group (15 to 25 million passengers). In line with Rome Fiumicino's annual data, it is also far ahead in comparison to the main larger airport hubs such as Munich and Frankfurt.

Linate, with 83.7% of punctual departing flights, ranks as the leader in terms of punctuality across all the airports in this category, ahead of the other comparable Italian airports, in descending order, of Naples and Bologna.

European Airport Punctuality Network (EAPN) ranking for departures (% within 15 min.)

Malpensa 75.5 80.1 81.3
Linate 83.7 85.3 84.9
Average EAPN 71.2 75.7 77.9

Source: SEA