Wizz Air was named the worst airline for flight delays in 2021, with the Hungarian carrier’s departures from the UK running an average of 14 minutes and 24 seconds behind schedule.

The PA News investigation, which was based on an analysis of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data, follows a study which ranked UK airports as having the worst delays in July.

Here’s a full breakdown of the airlines with the most delays last year and how long Brits waited on average for their flight.

A man is holding hand luggage and a boarding pass. Author: Canva

The worst airlines for flight delays from UK airports

Wizzair, which reported an average delay of just over 14 minutes, operates short-haul flights from 10 UK airports such as Belfast International, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Gatwick and Luton.

Following the Hungarian airline Tui Airways which had an average delay of 13 minutes and 18 seconds.

British Airwayswhich recently cut thousands of flights from its winter schedule, came third with 12 minutes 42 seconds – including its subsidiary BA CityFlyer.

READ MORE: Which UK airport has the worst delays? See the full list

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Rounding out the worst five is Virgin Atlantic with 12 minutes Loganair with 11 minutes and 30 seconds.

The two airlines most used by UK passengers, easyJet and Ryanair, were among the leaders in terms of punctuality.

Northern Echo: British Airways planes.  Author: PABritish Airways planes. Author: PA

Here’s a ranking of 14 major airlines by number of delays from UK airports.

1. Wizz Air: 14 minutes 24 seconds

2. Tui Airways: 13 minutes 18 seconds

3. British Airways: 12 minutes 42 seconds

4. Virgin Atlantic: 12 minutes

5. Loganair: 11 minutes 30 seconds

6. Air France: 11 minutes 12 seconds

7. Lufthansa: 10 minutes

8. KLM: eight minutes and 42 seconds

9. Eastern Airways: Seven minutes and 48 seconds

10. Jet2.com: Seven minutes and 42 seconds

11. American Airlines: Seven minutes

12. Ryanair: six minutes and six seconds

13. EasyJet: Four minutes and 36 seconds

14. Aer Lingus: Three minutes and 12 seconds

Only Irish carrier Aer Lingus did better, with a typical delay of just three minutes and 12 seconds.

The PA study analyzed all scheduled and charter departures from UK airports by airlines with more than 2,500 flights.

Northern Echo: easyJet plane takes off.  Author: PAeasyJet take off. Author: PA

The study does not include canceled flights, and the average airline delays are eight and a half minutes per flight.

Overall punctuality at all UK airports last year was better than before the pandemic, due to the introduction of Covid travel restrictions which led to fewer flights.

However, as many travelers know first-hand, staffing shortages have caused serious problems for several airports and airlines throughout 2022 and resulted in the cancellation of tens of thousands of flights.

READ MORE: TUI, easyJet, Ryanair, Virgin, Emirates: airline cancellation policies

READ MORE: What if your flight is delayed for 1, 3, 6 or 12 hours?

Guy Hobbs, editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel, said: “While these findings are alarming, the reality was actually much worse for many travelers this summer.

“Holidaymakers have faced a flurry of breaches over the past few months and these latest figures only underline the need for urgent reform of the tourism industry.

Northern Echo: Wizzair plane.  Author: PAWizzair plane. Author: PA

“Government must abandon plans to cut compensation to passengers for domestic flight delays and cancellations.”

Paul Charles, chief executive of consultancy The PC Agency, said: “Increasing flight delays have caused enormous stress for many consumers over the past year, as well as financial pain while waiting for refunds and compensation.

“Airlines, airports and air traffic control teams need to work more closely together to ensure that flying becomes more seamless and more enjoyable for us all.

“This will only happen if staff shortages are properly addressed and the aviation industry can grow again after the pandemic.”

PA News has reached out to Wizz Air for comment.


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