Gatwick named worst UK airport for delays while Heathrow is tied for second last... but London City is No 1 with 88% of flights on time

  • Findings are contained in a new report from the Civil Aviation Authority 
  • Gatwick Airport had an on-time performance rating of 73 per cent
  • Heathrow and Luton tied with just 77 per cent of flights on time
  • Across all of the UK the on-time performance was 79 per cent 
  • Only three airports improved their position from the previous year 
  • CAA monitored more than one million flights at 10 major airports in 2014

Passengers experienced more delays at UK airports last year, with Gatwick Airport being named the worst offender in an official report.

A study by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) found that one-fifth of flights experienced a delay in 2014, as the on-time performance at 10 major airports dropped by one percentage point to 79 per cent.

The lowest ranked airport was Gatwick, which had an on-time rating of 74 per cent and the longest average delay, at 15 minutes.

Gatwick Airport had an on-time performance rating of 74 per cent - the lowest of 10 airports monitored

Gatwick Airport had an on-time performance rating of 74 per cent - the lowest of 10 airports monitored

A Gatwick spokesperson said: 'Gatwick operates the world’s busiest single runway airport and strives to get all flights in and out of the airport on time. The airport has recently invested in efficiency improvements and expects a significantly better performance this year.

'In December 2014 Gatwick was officially accredited for "Airport Collaborative Decision Making" (ACDM) – a process which allows Gatwick and third parties to share data allowing aircraft to turn around and take off quicker and more efficiently. It also improves operational planning through better predictability and improved utilization of European airspace.'

For months Gatwick and Heathrow airports have been involved in a bitter campaign for the right to build a new runway. 

Heathrow tied with Luton as the second-worst airport for on-time performance, with a rating of 77 per cent.

For Heathrow it was a modest improvement of two percentage points from 2013.

London City was the best-performing airport with an on-time rating of 88 per cent, the study found

London City was the best-performing airport with an on-time rating of 88 per cent, the study found

This table provided by the Civil Aviation Authority displays where the 10 airports are ranked

This table provided by the Civil Aviation Authority displays where the 10 airports are ranked

Although Heathrow had the second longest average delay (13 minutes), it was one minute shorter than its average delay a year earlier.

Heathrow, Newcastle and Manchester were the only airports to see improvements in on-time performance compared with 2013.

The other seven airports – London City, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Stansted, Luton and Gatwick – saw their punctuality drop by as many as five percentage points.

A Heathrow spokesperson told MailOnline Travel: 'Punctuality is an absolute focus for Heathrow. Over the course of 2014 we have made significant operational investments and that’s why we are one of only three airports in the UK to have improved our punctuality.

'Heathrow is also the only major hub airport in the world to operate at 99 per cent capacity and we’ve become extremely efficient at it.

'Today we operate more than twice the number of aircraft movements on just two runways than the combined average of other global hubs.'

A study by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) found that one-fifth of flights experienced a delay in 2014

A study by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) found that one-fifth of flights experienced a delay in 2014

London City Airport, which is restricted to 120,000 arrivals and departures per year, was the best-performing airport with an on-time rating of 88 per cent.

It had an average flight delay of just seven minutes – five minutes less than the average of 10 major airports monitored in the study.

A London City Airport spokesperson said: “The CAA data proves that flying through London City Airport saves you valuable time. The airport prides itself on offering a fast check-in of just 20 minutes door to lounge, and even faster arrival of 15 minutes from tarmac to train or taxi.

'That’s why business and leisure travellers love to use LCY – less time at the airport means more time to do other things and the reassurance that you’re flying from the most punctual airport in the UK means you can get on with your trip without delay.'

The latest CAA figures show the number of passengers at UK airports increased to 238 million in 2014, just shy of the record in 2007.

The CAA monitored 1.4 million scheduled passenger flights (arrivals and departures) for the study, and it classifies an ‘on-time’ flight as one that departs or arrives at a UK airport early or up to and including 15 minutes late.

It said 73 per cent of charter passenger flights were delayed in 2014, a decrease of four percentage points, with an average delay of 18 minutes.

Newcastle (pictured), Heathrow and Manchester were the only airports to see improvements in 2014

The international destination with the best on-time performance was Billund, Denmark, with 89 per cent of flights departing on time from the UK, while the worst was Istanbul (56 per cent).

Flights to Bangkok had the longest average delay (27 minutes) while Billund had the shortest delay (six minutes).

Iain Osborne, group director for regulatory policy at the CAA, said in a statement: ‘Arriving on-time matters to passengers and our work helps ensure consumers have the best data and information to make better and more informed choices.

‘In the last five years punctuality has been improving and it is therefore disappointing to see a small dip in performance in the last year.

‘Notwithstanding this, the industry has had to deal with some unseasonably poor weather and a number of overseas air traffic control strikes, both beyond their control.

‘With this in mind we expect the industry to continue to build on the overall positive trajectory and to do all they can to improve punctuality performance further.' 

London City had an average flight delay of just seven minutes – five minutes less than the average

London City had an average flight delay of just seven minutes – five minutes less than the average

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