Airports around the globe get ready for post-pandemic traffic growth. Since COVID’s impact is getting lower constantly, passengers are returning and are eager to travel again. Are airports ready?  So we wanted to know the details and analyzed the operational performance of 12 leading airports from February to May 2021. Here’s the comprehensive airport benchmark!

Benchmark: How Leading Airports Handle Post-Pandemic Traffic Growth

It seems like the aviation industry is slowly leaving the pandemic behind. At least there have been many promising signs during the last months. And although Europe, Middle East, and South America are some steps behind Asia and North America, the summer traffic signs have turned green for many airlines.

However, we wanted to know the details about how airports have performed in the last months. Therefore we selected twelve of the world’s biggest airports and analyzed their operations. In that context, we looked at on-time performance, the number of cancellations, and the number of flights from February to May 2021. Here’s what’s contained in the blog post in detail:

Airport Benchmark Overview — Number of Flights

When looking at the number of flights, Atlanta remains the world’s biggest airport during the entire period. However, other U.S. airports, such as Denver, Chicago, or Dallas, get very close in some months. Overall, most airports show an increase in the number of flights between February and May 2021.

AirportFebruaryMarchAprilMay
Atlanta (ATL)21,93827,66927,44128,988
Guangzhou (CAN12,38519,23819,06919,771
Chongqing (CKG)12,70716,78216,50517,003
Charlotte (CLT)14,29019,93620,60421,476
Chengdu (CTU)11,82716,35815,69516,525
Denver (DEN)16,35821,44621,02722,778
Dallas/Fortworth (DFW)19,79225,25224,34127,229
Tokyo (HND)12,33611,32712,89112,473
Los Angeles (LAX)11,22113,75214,18816,666
Chicago O’Hare (ORD)14,85819,46020,42624,477
Shanghai Pudong (PVG)8,42214,57814,53816,025
Shenzhen (SZX)10,94214,88614,26115,138
Airport Benchmark Overview — Number of Flights

Airport Benchmark Overview — On-Time Performance

From an overall point of view, there’s no clear trend regarding airports’ on-time performance. However, there’s a clear difference between Chinese and U.S. airports. Whereas U.S. airports maintain a relatively high on-time performance on average, the Chinese perform very badly.

AirportFebruaryMarchAprilMay
Atlanta (ATL)88.590.088.484.7
Guangzhou (CAN79.479.974.647.2
Chongqing (CKG)76.176.871.857.5
Charlotte (CLT)88.091.492.989.7
Chengdu (CTU)81.180.974.568.1
Denver (DEN)79.879.386.478.9
Dallas/Fortworth (DFW)70.385.783.476.1
Tokyo (HND)48.886.791.791.0
Los Angeles (LAX)87.889.790.485.1
Chicago O’Hare (ORD)80.589.792.090.8
Shanghai Pudong (PVG)68.077.277.965.6
Shenzhen (SZX)79.977.872.451.4
Airport Benchmark Overview — On-Time Performance

Airport Benchmark Overview — Cancellations

Similar to on-time performance, U.S. airports show a better performance in terms of cancellations than Chinese airports.

AirportFebruaryMarchAprilMay
Atlanta (ATL)2.50.30.4
Guangzhou (CAN16.53.12.1
Chongqing (CKG)14.95.57.2
Charlotte (CLT)2.70.30.2
Chengdu (CTU)13.12.01.7
Denver (DEN)2.98.60.5
Dallas/Fortworth (DFW)14.11.30.7
Tokyo (HND)49.59.96.2
Los Angeles (LAX)4.31.30.3
Chicago O’Hare (ORD)4.51.30.3
Shanghai Pudong (PVG)26.56.93.9
Shenzhen (SZX)15.13.13.1
Airport Benchmark Overview — Cancellations

Airport Details

Atlanta (ATL), United States

As the world’s largest airport in terms of flights, Atlanta shows substantial growth over the observed 4-month period. The airport grew its traffic by ~40%, from ~22,000 flights in February to ~29,000 in May. Except for February, with a high number of cancellations, the airport has a solid performance in punctuality and cancellations.

Airport Benchmark — Atlanta (ATL) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Atlanta (ATL) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Atlanta (ATL) — No. of Flights
Airport Benchmark — Atlanta (ATL) — No. of Flights

Guangzhou (CAN), China

After massive growth of flight traffic in March, Guangzhou remained at the level of ~20,000 monthly flights. On-time performance and cancellations show an interesting picture at the Chinese airport. Although the number of cancellations is way above average each month, February and May negatively stand out with more than 16% cancellation rates. On-time performance steadily decreased since May to a poor value of 47% in May 2021.

Airport Benchmark — Guangzhou (CAN) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Guangzhou (CAN) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Guangzhou (CAN) — No. of Flights
Airport Benchmark — Guangzhou (CAN) — No. of Flights

You might also like


Chongqing (CKG), China

Chongqing’s performance is similar to Guangzhou: An increase in traffic in March and similar figures in April and May. On-time performance and cancellation graphics look similar, although Chongqing was able to operate slightly better than Guangzhou.

Airport Benchmark — Chongqing (CKG) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Chongqing (CKG) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Chongqing (CKG) — No. of Flights
Airport Benchmark — Chongqing (CKG) — No. of Flights

Charlotte (CLT), United States

Charlotte shows one of the best results of this airport benchmark. The airport was able to manage a solid and continuous growth during the observed period. Moreover, on-time performance was outstanding in each month. And expect February, the cancellation rate was extremely low (0.2% – 0.3%).

Airport Benchmark — Charlotte (CLT) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Charlotte (CLT) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Charlotte (CLT) — No. of Flights
Airport Benchmark — Charlotte (CLT) — No. of Flights

Chengdu (CTU), China

At Chengdu, we can see the typical Chinese performance picture again. Enormous flight growth in March, with continuously decreasing on-time performance and extremely high cancellation rates in February and May.

Airport Benchmark — Chengdu (CTU) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Chengdu (CTU) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Chengdu (CTU) — No. of Flights
Airport Benchmark — Chengdu (CTU) — No. of Flights

Denver (DEN), United States

Denver is one of the rare U.S. airports of this ranking, with an average on-time performance below 80%. On top of that, Denver recorded extraordinarily high cancellation rates in March (8.6%). The number of flights grew from 16,000 to 22,000 between February and May 2021.

Airport Benchmark — Denver (DEN) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Denver (DEN) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Denver (DEN) — No. of Flights
Airport Benchmark — Denver (DEN) — No. of Flights

Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), United States

With a flight growth rate of almost 50% between February and May, Dallas is one of the fastest-growing airports of this benchmark. Except for February, on-time performance was at an acceptable level. However, in February, the airport had to record massive cancellations (14.7%).

Airport Benchmark — Dallas (DFW) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Dallas (DFW) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Dallas (DFW) — No. of Flights
Airport Benchmark — Dallas (DFW) — No. of Flights

Tokyo Haneda (HND), Japan

Tokyo Airport’s charts are definitely one of the most fascinating of this airport benchmark. In February, the airport recorded an extremely poor OTP of 48%, while almost 50% of flights were canceled. Accordingly, the chances to get on a flight in Tokyo on time were pretty low. However, the airport was able to increase OTP and stabilize above 90%. Nevertheless, the cancellation rate remained high (4% – 6%).

Airport Benchmark — Tokyo (HND) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Tokyo (HND) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Tokyo (HND) — No. of Flights
Airport Benchmark — Tokyo (HND) — No. of Flights

Los Angeles (LAX), United States

Los Angeles performs very well compared to other airports of this benchmark. The on-time performance is close to 90% each month, while cancellation rates are reduced from 4% to 0.2%. On the other side, the number of flights has constantly grown from 11,000 in February to 16,000 in May.

Airport Benchmark — Los Angeles (LAX) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Los Angeles (LAX) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Los Angeles (LAX) — No. of Flights
Airport Benchmark — Los Angeles (LAX) — No. of Flights

Chicago O’Hare (ORD), United States

Chicago’s performance is comparable to Los Angeles: Excellent on-time performance with values above 90%, while cancellation rate declines to 0.1%. On the other side, the number of flights has massively grown from 15,000 to almost 25,000.

Airport Benchmark — Chicago (ORD) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Chicago (ORD) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Chicago (ORD) — No. of Flights
Airport Benchmark — Chicago (ORD) — No. of Flights

Shanghai Pudong (PVG), China

At Shanghai Pudong Airport, we have the typical Chinese picture once again. Enormous flight growth in March, poor on-time performance, and cancellation rates in February and May.

Airport Benchmark — Shanghai (PVG) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Shanghai (PVG) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Shanghai (PVG) — No. of Flights
Airport Benchmark — Shanghai (PVG) — No. of Flights

Shenzhen (SZX), China

Shenzhen closes the benchmark with one of the poorest performances in terms of on-time performance. The airport recorded a steady OTP decline down to 50% in May. After an increase, the number of flights remained stable from March to May.

Airport Benchmark — Shenzhen (SZX) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Shenzhen (SZX) — OTP & Cancellations
Airport Benchmark — Shenzhen (SZX) — No. of Flights
Airport Benchmark — Shenzhen (SZX) — No. of Flights

Airline Benchmark — What’s Your Opinion?

We’re always happy to get your feedback. Just leave a comment below or get in touch with the author on social media.

Data Source & Explanation: All information shown in this blog post is based on OAG data.

Previous

Airline Benchmark: How Lufthansa and others are flying out of the crisis!

Next

Delays Ahead! The World’s 10 Most Unpunctual Airlines in 2021

CEO

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.

You might also like