Easily one of the most competitive markets for air travel, now that low-cost airlines have entered the fray, is Europe. But while most customers seem satisfied with the low-cost amenities in this cut-throat market, one issue that has passengers fuming on the tarmac has to do with punctuality when it comes to arrivals and departures in the U.K.
The biggest culprit in delays when it comes to flights involving British soil is Hungarian carrier Wizz Air, according to a report by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) made public on Sunday. While the airline has made a name for itself in grabbing niche stops that aren't as busy as their other European counterparts, on average, their flights were clocked at being 23 minutes late.
The data, compiled in 2017, cited Norwegian as the next worst airline, with Spanish-owned Vueling placing third. Rounding out the top five were Thomas Cook and BMI Regional, both British owned and operated.
A spokesperson for Wizz Air claims that unpredictable weather conditions during winter months and air traffic controller strikes throughout Europe were partly to blame for the airline's punctuality track record. But issues more specific to the U.K. were also cited, from slot restrictions and congested airspace to airport infrastructure.
While Wizz Air claims it places a huge emphasis on timely performance affecting its fleet, the company, which calls itself the largest no-frills service catering to central and eastern Europe, didn't address how it would take on the punctuality issue. Instead, the airline said it will have a busy 2018, stating that its July flight traffic was higher than the same month in 2017 by nearly 23 percent.
CAA data covering U.K. air traffic indicated the average delay affecting all flights covered in its report was 15 minutes. While the data did not include canceled flights, it did compile information on more than 2,000 flights involving 44 airlines that took off from and landed at airports in the U.K.
The most punctual company according to CAA results was Sweden-based Scandinavian Airlines, which had flights averaging delays of seven minutes. The Swedish-based service was ranked ahead of Aer Lingus, Air France, Alitalia and Delta Airlines.