Global report ranks a South African airline as the second most punctual in the world

11th January 2023 By: Rebecca Campbell - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Global aviation database and analytics company OAG published its “Punctuality League 2023” report on Tuesday, ranking both airlines and airports around the world in terms of their On-Time Performance (OTP) during last year. And a South African airline was ranked second in the world for its OTP: FlySafair (although the report calls it Safair, after its parent company).

FlySafair achieved an OTP of 95.3%, second only to Garuda Indonesia’s 95.63%. There were no other African airlines within the Top 20. There was also only one US carrier in this group, Delta Air Lines, ranked 17th, with an OTP of 81.79%. On the other hand, the list contained seven Asian and six Latin American airlines. The list was rounded out by three European and two Middle Eastern carriers.

The Asian airlines were Garuda (1st), Thai AirAsia (4th), Jeju Airlines (5th), All Nippon Airways (6th), Japan Airlines (7th), IndiGo (15th) and Thai Smile Airways (16th). The Latin American carriers on the list were Copa Airlines (8th), LATAM Airlines Group (10th), Azul Airlines (11th), Sky Airline (12th), Avianca (14th) and Viva Air Colombia (18th). Europe was represented by Eurowings (3rd), Iberia (9th), and Air Europa (13th). The Middle Eastern airlines were Etihad (19th) and Emirates (20th). The average OTP for the top 20 was 86.7%.

The South African carrier had a cancellation rate of a mere 0.02%, as against Garuda’s 0.61%. Emirates matched FlySafair’s cancellation rate but had an OTP of 81.13%. Thai Smile Airways had the lowest cancellation rate amongst the top 20, at only 0.01%, while its OTP was 81.87%. The airline with the highest cancellation rate was Eurowings, at 3.49% (its OTP was 95.26%). The average cancellation rate amongst the Top 20 airlines was 0.89%.

Within the category ‘Middle East and Africa Airlines’, which listed the top ten airlines in this combined region, FlySafair of course ranked first, well ahead of second-placed Etihad (OTP of 81.14%) and third-placed Emirates. The only other African airline on this list was Ethiopian Airlines (6th), with an OTP of 76.73% and a cancellation rate of 0.04%.

“Global [OTP] is reaching levels last seen before the [Covid-19] pandemic as carriers work to ease operational pressures and delays,” highlighted OAG chief analyst John Grant. “Confidence in the travel recovery is growing with airlines placing new aircraft orders, new routes being announced and labour challenges seemingly subsiding.”