Fly the slow skies: Air Canada, WestJet score low in on-time performance

Milet McKeon, centre, uses her luggage as a seat as she waits in line at Pearson International airport, in Toronto, Canada on August 8, 2016. (Photo by Giordano Ciampini/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Despite being caught up in controversy last year after kicking a family with a toddler off a flight, Delta Air Lines is the most on-time mega airline in North America for 2017.

It’s a far cry from Canada’s largest carrier, Air Canada, which ranked 17th out of 20th for global mega airlines.

These results come from the latest OAG Aviation Worldwide Ltd. punctuality report. OAG analyzes 57 million flight records over the course of the year, and checks the on-time performance (OTP) of airlines across multiple categories. “On time” is defined as a flight arriving in under 15 minutes of its scheduled arrival time.

Three categories of airlines are included: low-cost carriers (like WestJet), mainline carriers, and mega airlines (the top 20 operators globally in terms of scheduled flights, including Air Canada).

Air Canada, despite having an excellent year as a company, didn’t fare so well when it came to on-time flights. It didn’t even crack the top 20 mainline carriers list with 67.32 per cent on-time performance. Its 17th-place ranking among mega airlines puts it behind North American competitors Delta Airlines, Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest, easyJet and JetBlue, as well as international carriers including Japan Airlines (who ranked first with 85.27 per cent OTP), All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Lufthansa and Air France.

The news isn’t much better for WestJet, either. Among low-cost carriers globally, it came in 15th out of 20 with 76.18 per cent on-time performance. Among North American airlines, WestJet ranked ninth out of 10 for OTP. Air Canada did not make the top 10 list.

The report also included some frequently taken routes for comparison of on-time performance.

The sixth most frequented flight route in 2017. New York’s La Guardia to Toronto, was flown 17,116 times. Air Canada completed the route on time 51.7 per cent of the time, while WestJet completed it on time 51.5 per cent of the time.

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