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OTP 2021

Air operations, Announcement, On-Time Performance

Delta Air Lines named as the world’s best performing airline of 2021; All Nippon Airways as the most on-time globally

December 29, 2021

Cirium releases the 2021 On-Time Performance Review for airline and airport operational performance featuring a new Platinum Award for operational excellence.

  • Cirium released its annual On-Time Performance Review 2021, the global standard for airline and airport performance
  • Delta Air Lines is recognized for Operational Excellence in 2021
  • Airlines globally operated nearly 25 million flights in 2021, a 10% increase from 2020, but still down 36% compared to 2019
  • Spanish IAG carriers, Vueling, Iberia Express and Iberia, take three of the top five spots in Europe
  • Tokyo’s Haneda Airport is the world’s most on-time airport

[NEW YORK, UK] December 29, 2021: Cirium, the aviation analytics firm, today released its On-Time Performance Review 2021, the global standard for airline and airport operational performance. Cirium awarded Delta Air Lines with the Platinum Award, recognizing the Atlanta-based carrier as the world’s best performing airline of the year for Operational Excellence.

The new annual award is presented to an airline with outstanding performance considering the complexity of the airline’s operation, volume of flights, diversity of its network and other key operational factors. The Platinum Award is based on a proprietary algorithm that considers an array of parameters and provides an output to compare airlines on a one-to-one basis as far as possible to ensure fairness, accuracy, and integrity.


“It was another challenging year for the aviation industry, however 2021 was certainly better than 2020, marking the start of the recovery,” said Jeremy Bowen, CEO, Cirium.

“Delta Air Lines stood out this year when you consider the carrier’s size, network, and passenger delay minutes, as well as the number of completed flights. It’s an outstanding effort and achievement during a difficult period. All Nippon Airlines (ANA) is recognized as the most on-time airline in the world. Delta, ANA and the regional winners are congratulated.”

Cirium’s 2021 On-Time Performance Review reflects the second half of the year when flight volumes returned. Airlines globally operated nearly 25 million flights, a 10% increase from 2020, but still down 36% compared to 2019.

The report reviews the top performing airlines and airports globally and in specific categories.

Global Airlines

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is named as the most on-time airline in the Global category with 95% of its flights on time. The carrier was followed closely by Japan Airlines (JAL) with 94.1% — reflecting the high standard set by Japanese aviation when it comes to on-time performance. In third place was Aeroflot (91%), followed by LATAM (88.7%) and Delta Air Lines (87.8%).

North America

Delta Air Lines takes home the award for most on-time North American airline with 87.7% of its flights arriving on time. The carrier topped Alaska Airlines (81.7%) and American Airlines (80.5%).

Europe

Spanish IAG carriers — Vueling (92.1%), Iberia Express (91.8%) and Iberia (90.3%) — took three of the top five spots in the European category. Notably, Vueling has expanded internationally in 2021 with 65% of its third quarter capacity dedicated to international flights.

Asia Pacific

In the Asia Pacific, leading Japanese airlines ANA and JAL rank at the top. Airlines that operate a flight schedule consisting mainly of international flights wherein a state of near hibernation in Asia. Those carriers with a sizeable domestic market have fared better. This year’s Top 10 in Asia-Pacific is dominated by airlines with a significant domestic operation.

Latin America

Copa Airlines, an airline that was close to a complete shutdown at the start of the pandemic, is making a strong recovery and operating its expanding flight schedules at a very high level of on-time performance. The carrier won the Latin America category with 90.3% of its flights on time, followed by Aerolineas Argentinas (89.2%) and Azul (88.9%).

Middle East and Africa

South African Low-Cost Carrier, Safair, outperforms in the Middle East and Africa category as 96.4% of its flights were on time. The airline did not feature in the On-Time Performance Review 2019, however has expanded its international services to Mauritius — a holiday destination for South Africans — with focused operations. Royal Jordanian (89%) and Emirates (86.7%) rounded out the performers in the region.

Low-Cost Carriers

Solaseed Air, also a Japanese domestic operator and ANA affiliate, tops the Low-Cost Carrier category with 97.9% of its flights on time in 2021. The airline flies a network of 14 routes and has very nimble operations.

Top Global Airports

The report also identifies the world’s leading airports in on-time performance and Tokyo’s international airport, Haneda Airport, ranks as the most on-time airport globally. In 2021, 95.6% of the airport’s flights departed on time.


Cirium’s on-time performance reporting for airlines and airports is the longest-standing of such analysis in the industry, going back 13 years.

Cover 2021 OTP

Cirium resumed reporting in June 2021, as flight volumes returned, with regular monthly updates that help gauge the industry’s performance in getting passengers from point A to point B, on time. Cirium’s on-time performance analysis is based on flight data from over 600 sources of real-time flight information. For an airline to be on time, their flights must arrive at the airport gate within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival time.

Click here to download the complimentary On-Time Performance Review 2021.

Click here to learn more about Cirium and OTP.


About Cirium

Cirium brings together powerful data and analytics to keep the world moving. Delivering insight, built from decades of experience in the sector, enabling travel companies, aircraft manufacturers, airports, airlines and financial institutions, among others, to make logical and informed decisions which shape the future of travel, growing revenues and enhancing customer experiences. Cirium is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The shares of RELX PLC are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX.

For further information please follow Cirium updates on LinkedIn or Twitter.

For media enquiries please contact:

Cirium media team (Rachel Humphries/June Lee) at media@cirium.com
Juliett Alpha (Mike Arnot) at cirium@juliettalpha.com
The PC Agency (Paul Charles/Michael Johnson/Callum McGoldrick at cirium@pc.agency

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