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Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 06:29 GMT
Flight delays fall
Airport delays
Average delays fell to 35.6 minutes last summer
Holidaymakers are enjoying the shortest flight delays for five years, according to the Air Transport Users Council (AUC).

The average charter airline delay dropped to 35.6 minutes last summer.

The previous summer it had been 40 minutes.

And while 18% of charter flights were more than an hour late in summer 2000, that figure fell to 15.6% during the same period last year.

We still have a few horrors down at the foot of the punctuality table

AUC chairman Ian Hamer

The AUC figures relate to airlines offering at least 100 summer flights on 10 routes from Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle airports.

AUC chairman Ian Hamer told BBC News: "The good news is that summer 2001 saw the best punctuality performance overall for five years."

"The bad news is that it only takes us back to where we were when we started publishing these tables six years ago.

Helios Airways had the best punctuality record last summer, with just 5.6% of flights more than an hour late and average delays of 13.6 minutes.

Holiday airline

The UK's biggest holiday airline, Britannia Airways, had average delays of 27.4 minutes last summer, compared with 30 in summer 2000, 29 in summer 1999 and 44 in summer 1998.

And while 19% of Britannia's flights were more than one hour late in summer 1998, that figure fell to 12% in summer 2000 and 11.2% last summer.

The UK's sixth-biggest holiday airline, Excel, formerly Sabre Airways, cut average delays from 66 minutes in summer 2000 to 20.5 in the same period last year.

And while 31% of Excel's flights were more than an hour late in summer 2000, that figure dropped to 8.8% in summer 2001.

Best timekeepers

But during the same periods, Airtours delays rose from 53 to 54.2 minutes.

Mr Hamer said: "It is good to see our major charter airlines are among the best timekeepers - but we still have a few horrors down at the foot of the punctuality table."

The longest average delays were 102.6 minutes on Transjet Airways AB flights and 83.4 minutes on on Air Atlanta Icelandic.

BMI British Midland had the most flights more than an hour late - 33%.

See also:

22 Nov 01 | Business
Round-up: Aviation in crisis
18 Sep 01 | Business
What now for tourism?
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