Airline punctuality at Britain’s airports has worsened, with the number of hour-long delays on Ryanair and Easyjet flights doubling in the last five years, according to research by consumer champion Which?.
Stansted is the UK’s worst airport for delays, with 10% of all flights taking off an hour or more late, while Heathrow was best, at 4%.
Passengers on a majority of UK carriers experienced significant delays. Ryanair saw the worst deterioration in punctuality of any major airline in the Which? survey, with 7.8% of its flights suffering a delay of one hour or more in 2018, compared with 3% in 2014. Thomas Cook Airlines was worst overall, with 11.5% of its flights delayed, while Dutch carrier KLM was the best.
The budget airlines rejected the findings, saying they were the victims of air traffic control delays, extreme weather conditions and strikes.
But Which? said both airports and airlines had failed to match the rapid growth in the number of flights with the resources needed to handle an increase in traffic.
It analysed 10m flights from 2014 to 2018, and estimated that last year alone 17 million passengers were affected by delays, but most passengers were not entitled to compensation because this is only payable after a three-hour delay.
Naomi Leach from Which? Travel said: “It is unacceptable for passengers to be regularly inconvenienced with delays that can leave them hundreds of pounds out of pocket when they miss connections or transfers, are fined for picking up their hire car late or miss their train or cab home.”