A travel expert said the regulator – the Civil Aviation Authority – should be given tougher powers to deal with airline misconduct.
Monday, April 10, 2023 7:30 a.m., United Kingdom
Wizz Air was the worst major airline for flight delays from the UK last year, according to a survey.
The figures, from the Civil Aviation Authority and reported by the PA news agency, revealed that the Hungarian carrier’s UK departures were on average 46 minutes and six seconds behind schedule in the year last.
This delay was more than three times longer than the previous year, when it was also the worst for punctuality.
Tui was the second worst, with an average delay of 40 minutes and 18 seconds, followed by Qatar Airways (31 minutes and 48 seconds), Turkish Airlines (29 minutes and 30 seconds) and Pegasus Airlines (27 minutes and 18 seconds).
The most punctual was Norwegian Air Shuttle, with an average delay of just 13 minutes and 42 seconds.
For all departures from UK airports by airlines with more than 2,500 flights, the average delay was 23 minutes.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel said: “These numbers are worrying, but will come as no surprise to passengers who have had to endure shoddy treatment from airlines for years.
“With a regulator that still lacks the appropriate powers to punish airlines that break the law, including withholding refunds, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that some carriers get away with simply letting passengers dry.
“To better protect passengers, the government must give the CAA effective powers to crack down on airline misbehavior, which includes the ability to impose heavy fines when they continually flout the law.”
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CAA Consumer Director Paul Smith said: “The CAA has consistently called for stronger enforcement powers for consumers, including the ability to fine airlines.
“When things go wrong, we expect airlines to proactively provide passengers with information about their rights when flights are disrupted, as well as timely support and assistance.
“We have already raised our concerns about Wizz Air and are working closely with the airline to improve outcomes for consumers.”
The CAA said in December the carrier was delaying refunds and its passengers were more likely to escalate their complaints.
A spokesperson for trade body Airlines UK said: “The whole industry knows how important punctuality is for customers.
“Last year was not representative due to the late unwinding of COVID restrictions which required a very rapid ramp-up.
“Since then, the sector has invested huge resources in increased resilience for this summer and we look forward to welcoming people back for their well-deserved breaks.”
Wizz Air had no comment.
Full ranking of major airlines by longest average delay per flight
1. Wizz Air: 46 minutes and six seconds
2. Tui: 40 minutes and 18 seconds
3. Qatar Airways: 31 minutes and 48 seconds
4. Turkish Airlines: 29 minutes and 30 seconds
5. Pegasus Airlines: 27 minutes and 18 seconds
6. Flybe: 26 minutes and six seconds
7. Air Portugal: 25 minutes and 48 seconds
8. Air Canada: 25 minutes and 18 seconds
9. British Airways: 23 minutes
10. Vueling: 22 minutes and 12 seconds
=11. Ryanair: 22 minutes
=11. Loganair: 22 minutes
13. Jet2.com: 21 minutes and 42 seconds
14. Air France: 21 minutes
15. Swiss Airlines: 20 minutes and 48 seconds
16. Emirates: 20 minutes and 36 seconds
17. EasyJet: 20 minutes and 24 seconds
18. Lufthansa: 20 minutes
19. Eurowings: 19 minutes and 24 seconds
20. Virgin Atlantic: 19 minutes
21. KLM: 18 minutes and 30 seconds
22. Delta Airlines: 18 minutes and 18 seconds
23. Aer Lingus: 18 minutes and six seconds
24. Eastern Airways: 17 minutes and 30 seconds
25. American Airlines: 16 seconds and 48 seconds
26. Blue Islands: 16 minutes and 42 seconds
27. Alderney Air Services: 16 minutes and 30 seconds
28. Iberia: 15 minutes and 36 seconds
29. SAS: 14 minutes and 30 seconds
30. United Airlines: 14 minutes and six seconds
31. Norwegian Air Shuttle: 13 minutes and 42 seconds
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