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31/08/2023 By : Tayla-Jane Nelson

UK Air Travel Witnesses Remarkable Improvement in Flight Cancellations and Punctuality

An Assuring Development for UK Travel Enthusiasts

Travellers within the UK can now exhale a sigh of relief as the aviation sector, previously plagued by uncertainties and interruptions throughout 2022, is steadily reducing the number of late and cancelled flights. The latest flight cancellation and punctuality report, released by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), unveils a significant stride forward during the initial quarter of 2023 and shows airlines making improvements on the disruptions that characterised the past year.

Among the most reassuring revelations of the CAA's comprehensive report is the decline in flight cancellations. The period from January to March of this year witnessed a total of 6,400 flight cancellations, signifying a noteworthy 14% reduction from the 7,300 cancellations logged during the preceding three months. A deeper analysis reveals March as a pivotal contributor, accounting for more than half of the cancellations. The month of March 2023 reported a staggering 3,496 flight cancellations—more than double the figure from March 2022. This escalation also marks a substantial escalation from the pre-pandemic statistics of 1,750 cancellations in March 2019.

The report also casts a spotlight on the improvements made in terms of flight punctuality. Only 28.7% of 409,000 flights missed the mark for on-time arrivals during the first quarter of 2023. This represents a reduction from the prior quarter, although it still falls short of the pre-pandemic benchmarks established in 2019. It is imperative to note that flights are categorised as "delayed" if they operate within a 15-minute window of their scheduled departure or arrival times. Furthermore, the average delay duration in the initial three months of 2023 registered lower compared to the final quarter of 2022.

The CAA attributes the delays and cancellations observed in the first quarter of 2023 to a spectrum of factors, including adverse weather conditions and strike actions instigated by French Air Traffic Controllers. A notable instance was the industrial action in France that prompted considerable cancellations by British Airways. Despite these challenges, the industry remains steadfast in its pursuit of solutions to sustain a consistent and dependable service for passengers.

Focusing the leaders in punctuality, the report highlighted Royal Jordanian Airlines at the forefront with a remarkable 90% of flights adhering to the set schedule. Close on their heels were PLAY, a budget airline from Iceland, boasting an 88% punctuality rate, and KLM Cityhopper, achieving 85% on-time arrivals. However, the report also unveiled the less punctual performers, with Kenya Airways showcasing an on-time performance of merely 45%, closely followed by Egyptair at 40%. Srilankan Airlines found itself at the bottom rung, with a mere 39% of flights maintaining their schedule.

The latest CAA report paints an optimistic portrayal of the UK aviation industry, spotlighting a remarkable reduction in flight cancellations and advancements in punctuality. While challenges endure, the sector's resilience and commitment to furnishing a seamless travel experience for passengers shine through. As the skies continue to clear in the newly reconnected world, travellers can anticipate more reliable and efficient air travel. Nevertheless, work remains, and while not every flight proceeds without hitches.

Steve Reid from Air Travel Claim said "The last few years have been challenging for those using air travel. With COVID restrictions, adverse weather conditions, strikes and staffing issues quite commonplace. Therefore, It‘s unsurprising that the industry has struggled to maintain the level of service customers rightly deserve. Whilst we are happy to see some positive steps with a few airlines improving their on-time performance, however, as widely reported in the media, there are still some airlines juggling their schedules around, causing high numbers of cancellations and delays. We urge travellers to ensure they are informed of their rights if their flight doesn't go completely to plan."

NEWS PROVIDED BY
August 24, 2023, 09:58 GMT

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