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O, Canada! Improved On-Time Performance, Increased Capacity and Competition in the Canadian Market

The Canadian airlines — and Toronto-Pearson International Airport — improved their on-time performance in the spring of 2024, which bodes well for the summer of 2024 

Improved On-Time Performance 

It’s not easy operating an airline in Canada — a large country with three major hub airports in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, and a variety of weather challenges no matter the time of year. Nevertheless, the Canadian carriers demonstrated solid on-time performance in spring 2024, which bodes well for summer travel. Indeed, among North American airlines, WestJet was third, and Air Canada sixth, for on-time performance in May 2024. 

In June 2024 (at the time of writing), the major Canadian carriers had comparatively high completion rates. Completion factor measures the number of flights flown compared to those scheduled. At the time of writing, Porter Airlines had a 99.52% completion factor, Flair Airlines at 99.27%, WestJet at 98.58%, and Air Canada posted 97% — with the latter on a significantly higher number of flights than its Canadian brethren. 

Toronto-Pearson Airport: Marked Improvement 

Toronto-Pearson Airport has faced challenges related to on-time performance in recovery from the pandemic. However, the airport has demonstrated consistent and improved departure performance in 2024 to date — even in the winter months of 2024. Toronto-Pearson’s D14% — the percentage of flights scheduled that departed within 14:59 of the scheduled departure time — consistently averaged around 70% in the first half of 2024 and into late June 2024. (Last June, Pearson’s D14% was around 59%). In May 2024, Toronto-Pearson had 70.96% of its flights depart on time, on around 14,500 flights. By way of comparison, the best performing U.S. airport in May 2024 was Salt Lake City, with 82.69% of flights departing on-time on around 10,000 flights. The best performing Canadian airport, Calgary International Airport, had a D14% of 77.07% on around 6,000 flights.  

The Canadian Domestic Market: Seats Flown Up 6% in 2024 

The Canadian airline industry has witnessed many changes in 2024 to date. Indeed, ultra-low cost carrier Lynx departed the market in bankruptcy, and long-time premium carrier Porter Airlines has taken delivery of Embraer E2-195 jets. At the time of writing, Porter has 33 jets in service, and is primed to increase its Canadian domestic flying by 63% (measured on seats flown) this July compared to last. WestJet will increase their July seats flown by 8% compared to last July. In contrast, ultra-low cost carrier Flair will fly 7.5% fewer seats this July 2024, compared to last July.  

Transatlantic Flying from Canada to Europe: Up Almost 7% in 2024 

Air Canada, Transat, and WestJet are the perennial airlines flying Canadian customers to European destinations, and vice-versa. Air Canada will fly twice as many seats as Air Transat, increasing its seat count by 3.3% this July compared to last. (These carriers will benefit from the general transatlantic demand, and phenomena such as North American customers seeking to enjoy Taylor Swift concerts or the Paris Olympics). Transat is up 6.2% on seats in July 2024 compared to July 2023, with WestJet increasing its seats flown by almost 20,000 seats in the month of July 2024 alone compared to July 2023.  

 Jul 2024 Jul 2023 Diff Percent Diff 
Airline Name Seats Seats Seats Seats 
Air Canada 451,984 437,607 14,377 3.3% 
Air Transat 216,433 203,756 12,677 6.2% 
WestJet 71,428 52,480 18,948 36.1% 
TOTAL 739,845 693,843 46,002 6.6%  

Learn more about Cirium On-Time Performance Reports.

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