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Air operations, Expert view, On-Time Performance

North American Airlines in 2023: Riding the Winds of Change

February 7, 2024

It is evident that this has been a significant year for the airline industry, particularly for North American carriers, which is the home to four of the five largest passenger airlines worldwide in terms of flight operations.




By James Hetzel, Product Marketing Director at Cirium

 As we reach the end of 2023, it is evident that this has been a significant year for the airline industry, particularly for North American carriers, which is the home to four of the five largest passenger airlines worldwide in terms of flight operations. The industry has experienced a whirlwind of developments, including a continuous increase in travel demand after the pandemic, strain on airport infrastructure, labor shortages, and rising fuel costs. Additionally, the diverse routes and varying weather conditions in North America present additional complexities for airline operations.

Despite these challenges, North American airlines have excelled in maintaining high operational efficiency and punctuality. Their ability to navigate these complexities is a testament to their resilience and adaptability. In terms of arrival performance, the overall rate for 2023 was 74.45%, with approximately 400,000 more scheduled flights compared to 2022, which had an on-time arrival rate of 74.26%.

Investment in technology, coupled with an unwavering commitment to customer service, undoubtedly contributed to the impressive on-time punctuality.

North American airlines have successfully adapted to these market challenges, while meeting the continuous increase in travel demand. Their investment in technology, coupled with an unwavering commitment to customer service, undoubtedly contributed to the impressive on-time punctuality statistics for the year.

Delta Air Lines once again claims the top spot in terms of performance, with 84.72% arriving on-time on over 1.5M flight operations. Following closely behind, and deserving honorable mention, was Alaska Airlines boasting an OTP of 82.25% on over 400,000 flights and American Airlines at 80.61% on over 1.9M flights. These airlines performed exceptionally over the course of the year overcoming tremendous travel demand and disruptive weather events. Congratulations to Delta Air Lines for their exceptional and consistent on-time performance!


In 2023, North American airlines underwent a remarkable transformation. They skillfully navigated the dynamic market landscape and elevated their operations in the face of increasing air travel demand. As we look ahead to 2024, we anticipate sustained operational excellence as challenges arising from labor shortages and airport infrastructure are gradually addressed and resolved.


report highlights

  • Delta Air Lines celebrates its third consecutive year as Cirium’s Platinum Award winner for global operational excellence.
  • Avianca Airlines emerges as the global leader in punctuality.
  • Delta Air Lines also comes out on top in North America, with Iberia Express leading in Europe, Copa in Latin America, ANA in Asia Pacific, and Oman Air in the Middle East and Africa. Safair triumphs as the leading low-cost carrier.
  • Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport stands out as the top global airport performer in 2023.
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