Adelaide maintained its position as the Australian airport with the highest percentage of on-time arrivals and departures in 2015, while Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne all improved their performance compared with the previous year, figures from flight data and aviation consultancy OAG show.
The OAG Punctuality League report found Japanese airports led the way in terms of punctuality during 2015, with Osaka (Itami) Airport topping the list of all airports with 93.9 per cent of flights arriving or departing within 15 minutes of published schedules.
And Tokyo (Haneda) was the only airport in the large airport category – defined as having more than 20 million passengers a year – with an on-time performance of 91.3 per cent. Haneda topped the list of large airports, moving up one place after coming in behind Munich in 2014.
“Tokyo has managed to improve on-time performance from 87.9 per cent, to 91.3 per cent this year, no mean feat for an airport which handled an average of 920 operations every day in 2015,” the OAG report said.
The OAG report noted “operational performance appears to have improved over the past year, with more flights arriving on time”, even as more aircraft, more flights, new aircraft types and more passengers put pressure on on-time performance.
OAG executive vice president John Grant said: “It is pleasing to report that overall punctuality continues to improve in many parts of the world. Investment in new technology, improved operating procedures and most importantly, the skill and professionalism of the airline and airport operators translates into the continual improvements we are reporting year on year.”
“To all of the airports and airlines in our leagues we offer our congratulations. Keep up the good work. We acknowledge the efforts being made to ensure passengers’ journeys run smoothly. In a world of complex schedules, increasingly congested skies and taxiways and ongoing environmental challenges, continuing to ensure that flights arrive and depart on time is an achievement to be celebrated.”
Australian airports improve
Brisbane Airport was the big improver in 2015, with its on-time performance rising 3.9 percentage points to 88.3 per cent compared with the prior year, the OAG report said.
The airport moved to fourth in the medium airport category, which covers airports with between 10-20 million passengers a year, just behind Copenhagen (88.53 per cent), Moscow Sheremetyevo (88.48 per cent) and Helsinki (88.43 per cent).
Brisbane Airport chief executive Julieanne Alroe said the improved performance was the result of Airservices and its airline customers working together as part of an Australia-wide Airport Capacity Enhancement (ACE) program.
“The goal of the ACE program at BNE specifically was to identify opportunities to improve efficiency and to increase the use of existing assets and infrastructure to increase runway capacity and reduce congestion and delays, particularly during peak traffic periods,” Alroe said in a statement.
“Some of ACE’s initiatives included increasing the use of the short cross-runway, improving pilot reaction times and reducing runway and taxiway occupancy times to reduce the time required for take-offs and landings, optimising aircraft sequencing, and introducing more standardisation across different operators and aircraft types.
“It’s exciting to see the results of these industry-wide efforts pay off with such a remarkable turn-around on on-time performance at Brisbane Airport.”
In the large airport category, which covers airports with more than 20 million passengers a year, Sydney improved from eighth to fifth in 2015 with an on-time performance of 85.2 per cent.
Melbourne Tullamarine was one spot back in sixth at 85 per cent, rising five places from 11th in 2014.
Three Australian airports featured in the small airport category, with Adelaide holding onto seventh place despite dropping to 90.2 per cent in 2015, from 90.5 per cent previously.
Perth climbed four spots to 11th at 88.6 per cent, while Cairns was included in this year’s list in 13th place at 88.4 per cent.
There were seven airports in the small airports category that had an on-time performance above 90 per cent, compared to just one in the large airports category, highlighting the challenges of operating big or fast-growing airports.
And as was the case in 2014, no Chinese airport made the top 20 in any category.
“There are some notable absences again this year. There are, as yet, no Chinese airports or airlines in the league. Performance is improving however and we hope to be able to include some in next year’s league,” the OAG report said.
“Similarly, none of the major UK airports make it into the Top 20, reflecting the ongoing capacity and infrastructure debate.
“There are also no Middle East airports in any of our airport categories this year, but for different reasons while these airports wrestle with matching capacity to the fast pace of demand in the region.”
The OAG report was based on more than 50 million flight records, the company said.