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  • 30.August.2023
  • 4 min
  • By: Steve Reid

A welcome change for all UK travellers

The skies over the United Kingdom are showing promising signs of recovery as the latest flight cancellation and punctuality report from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reveals a significant improvement for the first quarter of 2023. With the shadow of disruptions from the previous year fading, UK travellers can finally breathe a sigh of relief. The aviation scene, which was marred by uncertainty and interruptions through much of 2022, is steadily getting back on track, albeit with room for further progress.

Turning the Tide on Flight Cancellations

One of the most reassuring takeaways from the CAA’s report is the decline in flight cancellations. Between January and March of this year, a total of 6,400 flights were cancelled, showcasing a marked decrease from the 7,300 cancellations recorded in the preceding three months. Digging deeper into these numbers though, it’s noteworthy that the month of March played a significant role, contributing more than half of the cancellations. March 2023 saw a staggering 3,496 flights being cancelled—more than twice the number compared to March 2022. This also marked a considerable rise from the pre-pandemic figures of 1,750 in March 2019.

Steady Progress in Punctuality

The report also sheds light on the progress made in terms of flight punctuality. Only 28.7% of the total 409,000 flights failed to arrive on time in the first quarter of 2023. This marks a welcome decline from the previous quarter, although it still falls short of the pre-pandemic levels observed in 2019. It’s important to clarify that flights are considered “delayed” if they operate within 15 minutes of their scheduled departure or arrival times. Moreover, average delay times during the first three months of 2023 were lower compared to the last quarter of 2022.

Reasons Behind the Delays and Cancellations

The CAA attributes the delays and cancellations in the first quarter of 2023 to a variety of factors, including sporadic instances of adverse weather conditions and strike actions by French Air Traffic Controllers. A significant example of the latter was the industrial action in France that led to substantial cancellations by British Airways. Despite these challenges, the industry remains committed to finding solutions and maintaining a more consistent and reliable service for passengers.

Airline Punctuality Champions

Highlighting the top performers in punctuality, the report revealed that Royal Jordanian Airlines led the pack with an impressive 90% of its flights operating on time. Following closely behind were PLAY, an Icelandic low-cost airline, with 88% punctuality, and KLM Cityhopper with 85% of its flights arriving as scheduled. However, the chart also outlined the less fortunate performers, with Kenya Airways achieving an on-time performance of only 45%, followed by Egyptair at 40%. Srilankan Airlines landed at the bottom of the list, with a mere 39% of its flights operating on schedule.

Shifting Trends in Air Freight

As the aviation industry grappled with the effects of the pandemic, air freight experienced a notable shift. With passenger flights largely grounded, the demand for dedicated freighter aircraft surged, replacing the pre-pandemic norm of transporting cargo in passenger aircraft holds. However, the CAA data indicates a reversal of this trend. The cargo carried by dedicated freight flights plummeted by 53% to 204,000 tonnes, while cargo transported on passenger flights more than doubled to 330,000 tonnes.

Next Steps

The latest CAA report paints an encouraging picture for the UK aviation industry, showcasing a noteworthy decline in flight cancellations and improvements in punctuality. While challenges persist, the industry’s resilience and determination to deliver a smoother travel experience for passengers are evident. As the skies continue to clear now the world has opened up, travellers can look forward to a more dependable and efficient air travel landscape. However, there is still work to be done, and of course, not every flight continues to run on time without delays or cancellations. At Air Travel Claim, we wish this wasn’t the case, but for the times when disruptions cause havoc with your travel plans, we’ve got your back. Use our simple calculator to check your compensation and see if you are owed cash from flight cancellations or delays.

Steve Reid is a seasoned traveler and passionate advocate for passenger rights. With years of experience navigating the skies, Steve has become an expert in understanding the intricacies of flight delays, cancellations, and compensation.

As the go-to authority on all things related to air travel compensation, Steve brings a wealth of knowledge to our blog. Whether you’re seeking advice on claiming compensation or understanding your rights, Steve's insights give practical advice when things don't go as planned with air travel.

Connect with Steve on LinkedIn to stay updated on the latest travel news and receive expert advice.

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