FlightStats has published its annual report on the most on-time and delayed airlines in the world – showing just how South Africa’s national carrier compares to its global counterparts.
According to the group’s data, among all major global airlines, South African Airways (SAA) has a fairly average track record when it comes to keeping on schedule, ranked as the 21st most punctual out of 45 major airlines covered.
On mainline routes, SAA has an on-time arrival rate of 82.6%, meaning only 17.4% of flights experience delayed travel in 2016. On-time departures are slightly better at 86.3%.
FlightStats started compiling its arrival and delay report in 2014 and has published it annually since, showing SAA’s track record over the past three years.
In both 2014 and 2015, 13% of flights were delayed, making 2016 the worst year for SAA in the report.
In 2016, SAA recorded 53,578 flights, which means around 9,300 flights were late to arrive at their destination*.
SAA attributes most delays to fuelling issues, technical problems with aircraft, unfavourable weather conditions and congestion in air traffic.
While SAA is ranked 21st overall, in its region of operation – the Middle East and Africa – it is ranked second only to Qatar airways, which had an on-time arrival rate of 86.3% in 2016.
Globally, Copa Airlines in Panama had the highest on-time arrival rate across major airlines, hitting the scheduled arrival time 88.6% of the time.
Overall, the Latin America region is the most punctual, with flights arriving on time 83% of the time – while the MEA region is the most delayed, with 74.4% of flights making it on time and over a quarter (25.6%) of flights are delayed.
The most on-time major airlines in the world
|#||Airline||On-time arrival rate||Delay rate|
|21||South African Airways||82.6%||17.4%|
* SAA does not report differentiated data between SAA and Mango flights