Wizz Air ranked worst airline for delays for third year


Getty images People boarding a Wizz Air flightGetty images

Wizz’s departures from UK airports were an average of 31 minutes and 36 seconds behind schedule last year

Wizz Air has been named the worst airline for UK flight delays for the third year in a row.

The carrier’s departures from UK airports were an average of 31 minutes and 36 seconds behind schedule in 2023, according to analysis of official data by the PA news agency.

Turkish Airlines recorded the second worst punctuality followed by Tui.

The generally poor showing comes as airlines fares have been rising as a result of higher fuel costs and green taxes.

Wizz Air said it had made “significant improvements” but acknowledged there was “still work to be done”.

The analysis of Civil Aviation Authority data covered scheduled and chartered departures from UK airports, by airlines operating more than 2,500 flights.

Cancelled flights were not included.

After Wizz Air, PA said the worst airlines for delays were:

  • Turkish Airlines with an average delay of 28 minutes and 36 seconds
  • Tui at 28 minutes and 24 seconds
  • Air India at 28 minutes and 12 seconds
  • And Turkish low-cost carrier Pegasus Airlines at 25 minutes and six seconds

Irish carrier Emerald Airlines was the most punctual airline with an average delay of just 13 minutes and six seconds, while Virgin Atlantic came second at 13 minutes and 42 seconds.

Consumer affairs expert Jane Hawkes told the BBC the findings would “likely come as zero surprise to passengers who have endured lengthy delays on Wizz Air services”.

She added that research by Which? showed the airline was also falling short on the quality of customer service experienced by passengers.

“Irritatingly, but again not unsurprisingly, profits are soaring [at Wizz] in line with fares as passengers opt for airlines which offer seemingly ‘competitive’ prices across a variety of popular routes,” she added.

Wizz Air’s UK operations serve Aberdeen, Birmingham, Gatwick, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool and Luton airports.

Passenger numbers at the Hungarian carrier – which operates in Europe, north Africa, the Middle East and other parts of Asia – hit a record 62 million in the 12 months to the end of March, up by more than a fifth on the previous year.

Over the same period revenue from ticket sales rose 11.2% year-on-year, similar to rises across the airline sector.

‘Challenging year’

A Wizz Air spokeswoman said: “In 2022, like all airlines in Europe, Wizz Air experienced extraordinary operating challenges driven mostly by the external environment.

“Since then, we have invested more than £90m to stabilise operations, reduce the number of delays and provide a better experience for customers.”

Dale Keller, chief executive of the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK, which represents carriers, said 2023 had been “an extremely challenging year” for the industry.

He added that many delays were caused by factors outside of airlines’ control, such as air traffic control disruption including strikes in France and the National Air Traffic Services meltdown last August which grounded flights across the UK.

Punctuality has “continued to exponentially improve” this year, he said.

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