Have you ever wondered which airlines cancel the most flights, which airports have the biggest delays, or which countries have the highest risk of disrupted flights? If the answer to any of these questions is yes then you will enjoy our report. The GIVT Sky Ranking is an easy to follow guide to levels of disrupted flights: delayed 3hr+ flights and cancelled flights, for top airlines, airports and countries.
With ever congested skies passengers should never just limit their flight choices to costs and times. Travel comfort can be significantly impaired by an airport's ability to efficiently handle traffic or resolve unforeseen situations. The same holds for airlines, all of which have different policies for dealing with passenger complaints.
WHERE TO EXPECT DELAYS
2019 has been a good year so far for airlines. Across Europe flight numbers have increased by nearly 100,000 compared to the first three quarters of 2018. While the number of flights has increased, the number of disrupted flights has actually decreased. Several factors have helped, fuel prices have dropped since 2018, pilot shortages have also been redressed by many airlines, and there have been far fewer industrial strikes.
BRITISH AIRWAYS IS STRUGGLING TO KEEP UP WITH THE COMPETITION
Sky Ranking / Top ten EU airlines % of disrupted compensable flights RANK Q3/2019Q3/2019 Position AIRLINE CarrierQ3/2018 % disruptedQ3/2019 % disruptedDiff +/-1↑ 6British Airways1,5%4,6%201,0%2→Vueling2,9%2,3%-20,0%3↑ 3easyJet1,7%1,5%-13,0%4↑ 5Eurowings1,3%1,4%5,0%5↓ 3KLM3,0%1,3%-58,0%6↓ 3Lufthansa2,2%1,2%-44,0%7↓ 3SAS2,1%1,0%-50,0%8↓ 3Wizz Air2,0%0,7%-66,0%9 ↑ 1Air France0,5%0,7%37,0%10↓ 2Ryanair1,4%0,4%-69,0%
Budget airlines such as Ryanair and Wizz Air have made great strides with 25% less disruption than 2018. British Airways has its own set of problems, they experienced a 200% increase in disrupted flights compared to the same period last year. Confidence in BA is in a nosedive as security issues, computer glitches, and pilot strikes have hit the company. Gaffes by their customer service incorrectly informing clients their flights were cancelled have not helped, eroding customer confidence even further.
"It is very important to differentiate between airline strikes and airport strikes. Airport strikes, like baggage handler, or air traffic control strikes are considered extraordinary circumstances, and airlines are exempt from compensation liability. However, if their own staff; check-in, pilots, or crew strike, then customers are entitled to compensation," says Elżbieta Tyszka GIVT Head of Legal and Compliance.
But how have airlines fared in last quarter, peak summer months when flight numbers are at their highest? Most airlines are performing well compared to Q3 2018, with low-cost carriers Ryanair, and Wizz Air leading the way on reducing disrupted flights, despite a UK Pilot’s strike at Ryanair and a baggage handler strike at Luton Airport, hitting both airlines.
Running costs have also had a big impact. Jet fuel prices were high all throughout 2018, according to the IATA the cost of a barrel of jet fuel was $94 in May 2018, around 50% higher than May 2017, and 17.5% more than the current cost of $80 per barrel.
Sky Ranking / Top ten EU airports % of disrupted compensable flights RANK Q3/2019Q32019 Position AIRPORT NameQ3 2018 % disruptedQ3 2019 % disruptedDiff +/-1↑ 6London Heathrow1,2%3,1%166,0%2↑ 3London Gatwick1,5%2,5%64,0%3↓ 1Barcelona El Prat2,1%2,1%0,0%4↑ 6Munich International0,8%1,5%93,0%5↑ 1Amsterdam Schiphol1,4%1,4%-1,0%6↓ 2Palma de Mallorca1,7%1,3%-20,0%7↑ 3Rome Fiumicino1,1%1,1%-1,0%8↓ 5Frankfurt1,7%1,0%-40,0%9↓ 8Madrid Barajas2,2%0,9%-60,0%10↓ 2Paris Charles de Gaulle1,1%0,8%-28,0%
Despite improving its services easyJet has actually climbed 3 places in the GIVT Sky Ranking. This is mainly due to the fact that their competitors are outperforming them in relation to their level of disrupted flights. Ironically, easyJet has recently announced higher profit expectations for 2019 than expected* mainly due to strike actions at competing airlines British Airways and Ryanair.
LONDON’S COMPETITIVENESS IS LOSING ITS EDGE
At Europe’s top ten busiest airports the quarterly figures speak for themselves. Madrid, Paris and Frankfurt are working well year on year to reduce flight disruption, while Munich and London Gatwick, and Heathrow’s problems are only growing.
However, all these extra flights are putting extra strain on existing infrastructure. Congested airports, and skies, and frequent trade disputes all have their cost. Recent air traffic control strikes in France, Belgium, Germany, Finland, and Italy have put extra pressure on all airlines, airports, and countries.
The biggest challenges currently face British airports. Disruptions at London Heathrow and Gatwick are up, and with the spectre of Brexit on the horizon, these are set only to increase.
Munich airport has risen from 11th to 5th place in the Official Airline Guide (OAG) annual world Megahubs Index. Currently Munich offers 260 different destinations, but the expansion has come at a cost. Munich airport has risen 6 places in the GIVT Sky Ranking 10th place to 4th and nearly doubling their disrupted flights as compared to Q3 2018.
The picture all over Europe is cloudy, airlines are beset by many problems, with many big names going under in recent months. Britain's Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel company, was one of the biggest, and the repatriation of over 150,000 UK citizens by the government being called the largest European peacetime evacuation since Dunkirk.
UK AIRPORTS SUFFERING IN THE SHADOW OF BREXIT
Trade disputes, ground staff, baggage handler strikes, and air traffic controller actions all have their impact on disrupted flights. It pays to stay ahead of the crowd and prepare when travelling with known congested airlines, or through congested airports. No one likes delays, but thankfully quick and easy flight compensation is available for any cancelled, or delayed 3hrs+ flights.
Sky Ranking / Top ten EU countries % of disrupted compensable flightsTop ten EU countries by number of passengers RANK Q3/2019Q32019 Position COUNTRY RegionQ3 2018 % disruptedQ3 2019 % disruptedDiff +/-1↑ 8UK1,3%1,8%41,0%2↑ 1Portugal1,8%1,7%-5,0%3↑ 3EU1,5%1,3%-13,0%4↓ 3Germany2,1%1,2%-43,0%5↑ 3Spain1,2%1,2%-1,0%6→Italy1,3%1,1%-16,0%7↓ 3France1,5%1,0%-34,0%8↓ 5Poland1,6%1,0%-33,0%9→Romania0,9%0,8%-14,0%
"Lufthansa, Ryanair, British Airways, and Alitalia, have all gone on strike in the last few months. This had led to thousands of disrupted flights, and millions of euro in potential compensation claims. And all this disruption is set to continue," says Giacomo Alfiero GIVT Growth Operations Manager.
Remember, if you have been subject to a delayed flight, depending on where you lodge your claim, you have on average 3 years to claim flight compensation. Different compensation application periods apply in different countries.
6 months Romania1 year Belgium and Poland2 years Croatia, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland3 years Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Norway, and Portugal5 years France, Greece, Hungary, Scotland, and Spain6 years Cyprus, Ireland and UK10 years Luxemburg and Sweden
ꭞ Source data: GIVT AG expertise, analysis based on internal and available external data