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We can reveal the airports, airlines and routes that have the best and worst records for cancellations and delays

In 2023 thousands of UK flight departures and arrivals were cancelled or delayed. Using data supplied by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and aviation data analysis firm OAG, The Telegraph can reveal the airports, airlines and routes that have the best and worst records for cancellations and delays.

Enter your flight details above to find out the chances of a cancellation and the average delay in minutes for your journey, plus information on how specific airlines performed on each route.

The best and worst airports for delays

The worst UK international airport for delays in 2023 was Gatwick, with only 54.7 per cent of flights taking off or arriving on time (up to 15 minutes after the scheduled time of departure), according to The Telegraph’s analysis of CAA data. Bristol (61.6 per cent punctuality), Manchester (61.7 per cent), Edinburgh (61.9 per cent) and Luton (63.2 per cent) make up the rest of the bottom five airports for delays.

The best airport for delays was Aberdeen, with 83.5 per cent of flights departing or arriving on time. Smaller airports were generally more punctual than bigger ones – Belfast City (75.2 per cent), Exeter (74.8 per cent), Teesside (73.5 per cent) and Liverpool (73.5 per cent) were also in the top five.

In terms of the average length of delay, London City and Belfast City both had an average of 13 minutes – the best of any airport in the country. Heathrow had an average delay of 20 minutes, Manchester’s was 22 minutes, while Gatwick was at the bottom for this category with an average delay of 27 minutes – only pipped by the Isle of Man, which had an average delay of 29 minutes in 2023.

John Grant of OAG said: “Delivering on-time performance is crucial for the whole aviation industry and every day brings a new set of challenges, some of which are within the control of the airline or airport, while others – such as air traffic control, industrial disputes in Europe and even the weather – are not.”

The best and worst airports for cancellations

According to CAA data, the worst UK airport for cancellations in 2023 was the Isle of Man (5.46 per cent), approximately one in every 18 flights. Aberdeen (4.6 per cent), London City (4.21 per cent), Exeter (3.81 per cent) and Belfast City (3.73 per cent) make up the rest of the bottom five.

The best airport for cancellations was Bournemouth, with a cancellation rate of just 0.22 per cent, or one in every 454 flights. East Midlands (0.44 per cent), Stansted (0.65 per cent), Luton (1.06 per cent) and Belfast International (1.07 per cent) all also performed well.

Of the other major airports, Manchester had the best cancellation rate of just 1.27 per cent, while Gatwick (1.88 per cent) and Heathrow (2.1 per cent) had similar records.

The best and worst airlines for delays

The airline with the longest average delay for departures in 2023 was Wizz Air, at 32.4 minutes, according to CAA data. Egypt Air, BH Air and Turkey’s Corendon Airlines all registered averages of half an hour or longer.

On the other end of the spectrum, the best airlines for delays was the Norwegian airline Wideroe, which had an average delay of just 7.8 minutes. JetBlue, Malaysian Airlines and Japan Airlines also performed well on their departures from the UK.

Looking at the main airlines used by British holidaymakers, Tui Airways had an average delay of 27.4 minutes, British Airways 22.3 minutes, easyJet 21.5 minutes and Ryanair 19.8 minutes.

The best and worst airlines for cancellations

The worst airline for cancellations is the British domestic operator Eastern Airways, which had a cancellation rate of 9 per cent of departures from the UK. ITA Airways, the Italian flag carrier, was second worst, with a cancellation rate of 7.5 per cent, while Wideroe (4.9 per cent), KLM (4.5 per cent) and Aurigny (4.2 per cent) make up the rest of the bottom five.

The airlines with the best cancellation rates include Japan Airlines, Corendon and All Nippon Airways (ANA), which each had a 100 per cent track record for operating their flights. Singapore (0.05 per cent cancelled), KLM Cityhopper (0.12 per cent), Tui Airways (0.14 per cent) and BA Euroflyer (0.15 per cent) also performed well in this department.

Of the major airlines, performed best with only 149 of its 50,360 flights cancelled (0.3 per cent). Ryanair’s record was similarly impressive, with only 520 of its 151,313 departures (0.34 per cent) cancelled. Wizz Air had a cancellation rate of 1 per cent, easyJet’s was 1.5 per cent, while British Airways saw just shy of 3 per cent of all scheduled flights cancelled.

The best and worst times of year to travel

When it comes to flight delays and cancellations, June is the worst summer month to fly according to OAG flight data for 2023.

Of the 20 worst days for cancellations in 2023, five of those fell in June. It was also the summer month with the highest average percentage of cancellations, with 2.2 per cent of all UK departures called off. August came second, at 2.1 per cent, although that figure is skewed by the 2023 Bank Holiday air traffic control meltdown. Discounting that event, the average cancellation rate for August was 1.2 per cent. May had the lowest average cancellation rate, at 1.3 per cent of all flights canned.

The summer month worst for delays was also June, with 82 per cent of flights departing on time. August was second worst, at 85.2 per cent, and then there is little to separate May (86.5), July (86.7) and September (86.6). By far the worst month of the year for delays was December, during which almost one in four flights (24 per cent) did not take off on time last year.

The most problem-prone routes

The route with the highest percentage of cancellations (according to the CAA data) was Gatwick to Catania, operated by British Airways. Of the 23 scheduled flights in 2023, 14 (60.8 per cent) were cancelled. Of international routes with more than 100 flights, Aberdeen to Amsterdam with KLM saw a cancellation rate of 19.4 per cent. Gatwick to New York JFK with British Airways had a cancellation rate of 15.9 per cent, and London City to Milan with ITA had a cancellation rate of 15.8 per cent.

Of the services with more than 100 flights in 2023, Gatwick to Paphos (Cyprus) operated by Tui Airways had the longest average delay of 99 minutes. Heathrow to Islamabad with British Airways had an average delay of 76 minutes, while Luton to Tirana with Wizz Air also had an average delay of 76 minutes across 935 flights.

This story was first published in July 2023 and has been revised and updated.