3,000 fewer late flights shows ‘remarkable’ improvement for Canadian airline


Published May 15, 2024 at 1:09 pm

WestJet and Air Canada late flights in April 2024.

After two consecutive months of operating more late flights than any other major airline in North America, Canada’s WestJet rebounded in April to land the second-best percentage of on-time flights.

Calgary-based WestJet, which operates many of its flights out of Pearson Airport in Mississauga, landed 82.70 per cent of its 15,085 April flights on time (see chart below), according to aviation data firm Cirium’s latest monthly On-time Performance Report that tracks the reliability of North America’s 10 major airlines.

That mark was good for second spot on April’s top 10 list, trailing only U.S.-based Delta Air Lines (85.73 per cent of 140,950 flights were on time) and representing an 18 per cent improvement over March numbers (64.18 per cent of its 15,863 flights) for Canada’s second-largest airline.

Delta placed first for the eighth consecutive month.

“A remarkable 18-point improvement propelled WestJet from 10th place last month to second place this month,” authors of the report stated in a synopsis of the North American flight rankings.

The April numbers for WestJet mean just over 17 per cent of the carrier’s flights (about 2,564) were late arrivals at their destination, meaning 15 minutes or more past scheduled arrival time. The number of late flights in March, by comparison, was 5,552 and in February WestJet landed about 4,520 late flights.

Rounding out the top five airlines for on-time performance in April are Florida-based Spirit Airlines (82.66 per cent of 24,596 flights), United Airlines (82.24 per cent of 129,606 flights) and Alaska Airlines (80.43 per cent of 35,065 flights).

Meanwhile, Canada’s largest airline once again ranked near the bottom of the April rankings. Air Canada, which consistently found itself at or near the bottom of the OTP rankings throughout 2023, placed ninth on the April 2024 list, the data shows.

Air Canada landed 75.22 per cent of its 30,913 April flights on time, meaning nearly 25 per cent (7,728 flights) were late.

In March, Air Canada landed just over 75 per cent of its 31,994 flights on time to place sixth on the monthly list, the flagship Canadian carrier’s highest ranking in well over a year.

Denver-based Frontier Airlines was 10th on the latest list, landing 71.47 per cent of its 18,343 April flights on time.

Numbers measuring on-time performance for all of 2023 placed Air Canada at the bottom of the rankings for the entire 12-month period, Cirium data revealed earlier.

Each month, Cirium ranks the 10 largest airlines in a given region around the world based on their on-time performance rate.

Its numbers from April show of the 724,130 flights across North America (10 airlines combined), 79.72 per cent arrived on time. That’s an improvement over the 74.88 per cent mark achieved in March.

Airlines’ on-time performance for December 2023, February 2024, March 2024 and April 2024 appear above. Numbers for January 2024 were not made available. (Source: Cirium Aviation Analytics)

(Cover photo: Federal Aviation Administration)

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising