The world is on its way to leave the pandemic behind. Borders open, people start to travel again, and the number of flights is constantly growing again. With increasing traffic, airlines’ on-time performance is back in focus. We gathered data and provide you with the first airline on-time performance analysis since 2020.

airline on-time performance analysis

Airline On-Time Performance Analysis

With many airlines on the path to pre-COVID traffic figures, operations quality is also back on airlines’ agenda. Handled with a lower priority during the pandemic, regularity or on-time performance are becoming essential again. We took a look at available data and collected on-time figures from airlines around the world. As a result, we’re happy to present the first airline on-time performance analysis for more than 12 months.

Here’s what you’ll find on this blog post:

Top 3 Most Punctual Airlines in May 2021

Before we dive into the detailed ranking, we are proud to present the top airlines in terms of on-time performance. At that time, we have a mix of airlines from North America, Europe, and Asia. Moreover, it is interesting to see that none of the top 3 airlines were among the top carriers in our last ranking from 2019.

#1 — WestJet

WestJet, the Canadian low-cost carrier, tops the ranking with an outstanding on-time performance of 96.87%. WestJet is a Canadian low-cost airline founded in 1996. The airline operates hubs in Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver. WestJet operates a Boeing fleet of 123 aircraft, consisting of mainly B737 (600, 700, and 800) and some 787-9. The airline currently flies to 108 destinations in 25 countries across North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and Europe.

WestJet — Airline with best on-time performance in May 2021
WestJet — Airline with best on-time performance in May 2021 — By Anna Zvereva from Tallinn, Estonia

#2 — Iberia

Spain’s flag carrier and second largest airline of the country gets the on-time performance silver medal. However, with an on-time performance of 96.57, Iberia achieved an on-time performance that is only slightly behind WestJet.

Iberia operates an international network of services from its main base of Madrid–Barajas Airport. Iberia, with Iberia Regional (operated by an independent carrier Air Nostrum) and Iberia Express, is a part of International Airlines Group. In addition to transporting passengers and freight, Iberia Group carries out related activities, such as aircraft maintenance, airports, IT systems, and in-flight catering. Iberia Group airlines fly to over 109 destinations in 39 countries and a further 90 destinations through code-sharing agreements with other airlines.

Iberia — Airline with best on-time performance in May 2021
Iberia — Airline with best on-time performance in May 2021 — By Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland

#3 — Air Do

At position three of the airlines with the best on-time performance, we have a carrier you might not know. Air Do is a Japanese regional airline. The rather smaller carrier achieved an on-time performance of 96.4 in May 2021. With a fleet of 14 aircraft, Air Do operates scheduled service between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in cooperation with All Nippon Airways, from its hubs at New Chitose Airport in Sapporo and Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

Air Do — Airline with best on-time performance in May 2021
Air Do — Airline with best on-time performance in May 2021 — By Kentaro IEMOTO from Tokyo, Japan

Airline On-Time Performance Analysis: Rank 1 — 10

When looking at the top 10 airlines with the best on-time performance in May 2021, it is interesting to see two airlines from Japan, Canada, and Spain. Moreover, two carriers from Latin America (LATAM & Avianca) complete the top 10.

RankAirlineCountryOn-time Performance
(in % — May 2021)
1WestJetCanada96.87
2IberiaSpain96.57
3Air DoJapan96.40
4VuelingSpain96.07
5Olympic AirGreece95.96
6KLMNetherlands95.74
7All Nippon AirlinesJapan95.22
8Air CanadaCanada94.79
9LATAMChile94.68
10AviancaColombia93.99
Airline On-Time Performance — Position 1 – 10

Airline On-Time Performance Analysis: Rank 11 — 20

On ranks 11 to 20, we have many airlines with a solid on-time performance of 93.x%. However, interesting to see that Hawaiian Airlines —which usually is among the top 3 airlines— ranks only 17th. Russia’s Aeroflot also lost many positions compared to previous rankings and ranks only 12th.

RankAirlineCountryOn-time Performance
(May 2021)
11Japan AirlinesJapan93.90
12AeroflotRussia93.60
13AlitaliaItaly93.55
14AzulBrazil93.53
15GOLBrazil93.52
16Copa AirlinesPanama93.27
17Hawaiian AirlinesUnited States93.22
18Austrian AirlinesAustria93.18
19SunExpressTurkey93.11
20EurowingsGermany92.75
Airline On-Time Performance — Position 11 – 20

Airline On-Time Performance Analysis: Rank 21 — 30

On ranks 21 to 30, we have many of the United States’ main carriers, with Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines, United, and American Airlines. Garuda Indonesia —previously ranked as the airline with the best on-time performance— ranks only 27th.

RankAirlineCountryOn-time Performance
(May 2021)
21Aerolineas ArgentinaArgentina92.68
22Sky AirlineChile92.55
23SASSweden91.62
24Delta Air LinesUnited States91.02
25Alaska AirlinesUnited States89.96
26Air New ZealandNew Zealand89.59
27Garuda IndonesiaIndonesia87.98
28United AirlinesUnited States86.97
29Korean AirlinesSouth Korea85.48
30American AirlinesUnited States85.42
Airline On-Time Performance — Position 21 – 30

Airline On-Time Performance Analysis: Rank 31 — 40

RankAirlineCountryOn-time Performance
(May 2021)
31Spirit AirlinesUnited States84.94
32JejuSouth Korea84.93
33Frontier AirlinesUnited States84.82
34Virgin AustraliaAustralia84.76
35AeromexicoMexico83.80
36QantasAustralia82.39
37VolarisMexico81.85
38SouthwestUnited States80.23
39Kunming AirlinesChina70.88
40Chengdu AirlinesChina69.19
Airline On-Time Performance — Position 31 – 40

Data Sources, Limitations, and Explanations

All data shown on this blog post is provided by Cirium.com. Due to the reduced number of flights, Middle East carriers are not included in the report. For more information about the calculation and data coverage visit Cirium’s website.

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Benjamin is a content-maniac, music-lover, aviation-enthusiast, and CEO of Information Design (in this order). His daily business revolves around pioneering solutions to change the way airlines, airports, and aviators use information. His visions are based on expertise gained in more than 15 years in the industry and working with renowned airlines + airports worldwide.