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Revealed: The Most and Least Punctual European Airlines in 2021

With increasing traffic figures, operational quality slides back into the spotlight of airline passengers. We've analyzed how European airlines have performed so far in 2021 and put together the most and least punctual European airlines.

After more than a year of a pandemic, many airlines are on their way back to pre-COVID traffic figures. However, with growing passenger numbers and flights, airlines’ operational quality is back in the focus of both airlines and passengers. That’s why we took a look and analyzed 2021 in terms of European airlines’ punctuality. Here are the results!

Top 5 Punctual European Airlines in 2021

#1 — Iberia

For many years, Spain’s flag carrier plays in the champions league when it comes to punctuality. Although Iberia operated fewer flights compared to previous years, the airline maintained its ultra-high punctuality level. As a result, Iberia can be proud of the title “Europes Most Punctual Airline in 2021.”

2021’s Performance: 98.5% Punctual Flights
On average, Iberia achieved an on-time performance of 95.8%. Moreover, when looking at each month, the Spanish flag-carrier reached a punctuality level of 98% and above in some months. That’s definitely an outstanding performance. Here are the detailed results:

May 98.0%
Most Punctual European Airlines — Iberia’s On-Time Performance

Airline Background
Iberia is Spain’s flag carrier and one of the country’s biggest airlines. The airline is a member of the OneWorld alliance and operates out of its hub in Madrid.

Punctual European Airlines in 2021 - Iberia
Iberia — Europe’s Most Punctual Airline in 2021

#2 — Norwegian Air Shuttle

Due to COVID-19, Norwegian Air Shuttle struggled massively in 2020. However, the airline has been slowly recovering in 2021. Nevertheless, from February to July 2021, the airline has operated at an exceptional punctuality level.

2021’s Performance: 94.6% Punctual Flights
Compared to Iberia, Norwegian achieved a 1.2pp lower punctuality level. However, with 94.6% of flights, Norway’s low-cost carrier achieved outstanding results too. Also similar to Iberia, Norwegian achieved the best results in April and May with 97% resp. 96.6% on-time performance. Here are the details:

May 96.6%
Most Punctual European Airlines — Norwegian’s On-Time Performance

Airline Background
Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, trading as Norwegian, is a Norwegian low-cost airline and Norway’s largest airline. It is the fourth largest low-cost carrier in Europe behind Wizz Air, easyJet, and Ryanair, the second-largest airline in Scandinavia, and the ninth-largest airline in Europe in terms of passenger numbers.

Punctual European Airlines in 2021 - Norwegian
By Bene Riobó

#3 — Vueling

With Vueling, we have the second Spanish carrier among Europe’s top 3 most punctual airlines. Vueling’s performance gets even more incredible when looking at its flight volume. From February to July, Vueling has increased its flight volume from 1,260 to more than 15,500 flights. At the same time, the Spanish carrier operated at an exceptional punctuality level.

2021’s Performance: 94.4% Punctual Flights
Actually, Vueling’s punctuality is only 0.2pp lower than Norwegian’s. From February to July, the Spanish carrier achieved overall punctuality of 94.4%. Vueling saw its strongest month in April when the airline reached an on-time performance of 97%. Here are the details:

May 95.9%
Most Punctual European Airlines — Vueling’s On-Time Performance

Airline Background
Vueling Airlines is a Spanish low-cost airline based at El Prat de Llobregat in Greater Barcelona with hubs at Barcelona–El Prat Airport and Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy. It is the largest airline in Spain, measured by fleet size and the number of destinations.

Punctual European Airlines in 2021 - Vueling
Punctual European Airlines in 2021 – Vueling


Least Punctual European Airlines in 2021

Let’s look at the bottom of the list and airlines with bigger issues when operating punctual flights.

#3 — Edelweiss Air

As part of the Lufthansa Group, Edelweiss Air has delivered a fragile on-time performance in 2021 so far. On average, the airline achieved an on-time performance of 61.8% from February to July. The carrier saw the worst performance in February and March when Edelweiss Air achieved only 43.8% resp. 46.2% punctual flights. Afterward, Edelweiss Air slowly improved and achieved a punctuality level of 74.5% in July. Here are the details:

May 65.6%
Least Punctual European Airlines — Edelweiss Air’s On-Time Performance

Airline Background
Edelweiss Air AG is a Swiss leisure airline, charter airline, and the sister company of Swiss International Air Lines. It operates flights to European and intercontinental destinations from its base at Zürich Airport.

Punctual European Airlines in 2021 - edelweiss Air
By Kambui – Edelweiss Air Airbus A320-214 HB-IJU, CC BY 2.0,

#2 — Ural Airlines

Compared to Russia’s Ural Airlines, the above introduced Edelweiss Air delivered outstanding results. From February to July 2021, Ural achieved an on-time performance of 47.2%. At the same time, the airline operated 30,000 flights — resulting in more than 14,000 delayed flights! Moreover, and contrary to many other airlines, Ural Airlines’ on-time performance has gotten worse during the observed period. As a result, the carrier achieved a punctuality level slightly above 30% in June and July. Here are the details:

May 49.9%
Least Punctual European Airlines — Ural Airlines’ On-Time Performance

Airline Background
Ural Airlines is based in Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia, that operates scheduled and chartered domestic and international flights out of Koltsovo International Airport. In 2018, the company transported nine million passengers.

Punctual European Airlines in 2021 - Ural Airlines
By Anna Zvereva from Tallinn, Estonia – Ural Airlines

#1 — Yakutia

Yes, we know the below figures sound unbelievable — but we checked it twice. From February to July 2021, Russia’s Yakutia achieved a punctuality level of 0.7% — that’s zero-point-seven. Even worse, in some months, the carrier did not operate a single flight on time. Out of 5,730 flights during the observed timeframe, Yakutia managed to operate 41 on time. Here are the details:

May 0.5%
Least Punctual European Airlines — Yakutia’s On-Time Performance

Airline Background
Yakutia Airlines is an airline based in Yakutsk, Sakha Republic, Russia. It operates domestic passenger services in Russia and within the Commonwealth of Independent States and destinations in Europe, Asia, and North America from its hubs at Yakutsk Airport and Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport.

Punctual European Airlines in 2021 - Yakutia
By Pavel Adzhigildaev

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Benjamin Walther

CEO, Frankfurt

Benjamin is Information Design's CEO and a proven content-maniac. Besides running a successful business and developing pioneering ideas, he's dedicated to writing blog posts and creating content.

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