The most punctual airlines in the world in 2023

(CNN) — Too often, airline and airport headlines focus on the bad: long delays, inclement weather, passenger nightmares and the like.

So when there’s an opportunity to celebrate something good in the world of aviation, it’s good to take a look.

Aviation analytics company Cirium analyzed several metrics to determine which airlines and airports around the world have the best flight on-time ratings. No matter where in the world you live (or plan to go), these statistics give you some hope that your next trip will go smoothly.

Fly high

While Cirium recognizes winners across continents, the overall award for Most Punctual Airline went to Colombian airline Avianca. Typically with a small A at the beginning of the logo, it is part of the Star Alliance network.

While Avianca received universal recognition, the airline that earned the title of most punctual in South America was Copa, the national airline of Panama.

The most punctual airlines in the world in 2023

Delta Air Lines has earned high ratings in North America. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The most punctual airline in Asia was the Japanese All Nippon Airways (ANA). In North America it was Delta Air Lines, and in Europe the title was won by Iberia Express. The most punctual airline in the Middle East and Africa is Oman Air, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2023.

However, digging deeper into the data reveals a more varied picture of punctuality.

When compiling the ranking, Cirium took into account several factors: on-time arrivals, tracked flights and the total number of flights flown. Avianca had an on-time arrival rate of 85.73% of its total 213,039 flights, according to Cirium analysis.

Meanwhile, two US airlines – Delta and American Airlines – far outpaced the rest of the list in terms of total number of flights. In 2023, Delta operated 1,635,486 flights with an on-time arrival rate of 84.72%; American operated 1,998,844 flights with an on-time arrival success rate of 80.61%.

Qatar Airways (85.11%) and Japan Airlines (82.58%) also received high marks.

For David White, senior director of future initiatives at Cirium, 2023 was the year of resilience for the airline industry after the impact of the pandemic.

“Despite the challenges, leading airlines managed to end the year with impressive on-time performance,” White said in a statement.

Cirium has also highlighted smaller low-cost airlines. The top five included Safair (South Africa), Azul (Brazil), Hong Kong Express, JetStar Japan and Iberia Express (Spain).

Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) received the award in the large airport category. Photo: Anthony Soufflé/AP

The full report also notes that not all delays are the fault of the airline itself. Weather, airport traffic and staffing issues may also be contributing factors.

Airport Awards

According to Cirium, the world’s best airport for punctuality in 2023 was Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP) in Minnesota.

The most punctual medium-sized airport was Osaka International Airport (ITM) in Japan. However, it is not Osaka’s main air hub, as most foreign visitors arrive via Kansai International Airport (KIX), located about an hour’s drive from the city.

Osaka International Airport, also called Itami, is a small airport that, despite its name, acts as the country’s national hub.

Meanwhile, the winner in the small airport category was Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO), which serves Quito, Ecuador.

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