2021 On-time performers declared, who are the Top 10 airlines?

OTP, or On-Time Performance, is a widely used metric for measuring punctuality in a variety of modes of public transportation, not just aviation. It gives you a standardised way to compare how well one service provider adheres to its published schedule versus another.

In aviation, an on-time departure or arrival is defined as one that occurs within 15 minutes of the scheduled departure or arrival time. The schedule is the foundation of the airline’s customer proposition.

Top 10 Global airlines of 2021 on the On-time performance parameter

External disruptions such as bad weather, traffic, incidents, and industrial action will inevitably cause delays for operators, but in general, OTP can be influenced by airline and airport performance.

As a result, it is widely used as a powerful key performance indicator for airlines and airports, as well as a potential service differentiator for brand marketing to air travellers.

Let’s have a look at the Top 10 Airlines around the globe for January 2021 – December 2021 based on their On-Time Performance.

1. LATAM Airlines Group

The largest airline in Latin America, LATAM Airlines Group is the most punctual airline in 2021 in the world, according to OAG. It moved up a position from second in 2019 (pre-pandemic) to first position in 2021 (post-pandemic) in On-Time Performance.

LATAM Airlines Group was formed through the merger of LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines which was officially completed in June 2012. The merged airline group operates an extensive network of passenger and cargo services internationally and throughout Latin America. A phased roll-out of the LATAM identity commenced in 2016, with the launch of LATAM divisions – LATAM Cargo and LATAM Airlines.

LATAM Airlines A320 (Image Courtesy – AIB Family Flights)

LAN and TAM continue to operate under their existing brands and maintain their current headquarters in Santiago, Chile and Sao Paulo, Brazil respectively. As of January 15, 2022, LATAM Airlines Group has a fleet size of 298 aircraft.

2. Japan Airlines

The second position in 2021 was held by Japan’s flag carrier, Japan Airlines. It dropped a position in 2021 (post-pandemic). It was the number 1 airline in On-Time Performance in 2019 (pre-pandemic).

Based in Tokyo, Japan Airlines (JAL) is one of Japan’s two major flag carriers with hubs at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, Tokyo International Airport, Nagoya’s Chubu Centrair International Airport and Osaka’s Kansai International Airport.

Japan Airlines B787 Dreamliner (Image Courtesy – Airline Geeks)

Operating a large fleet of narrow and wide-body aircraft, JAL has an extensive domestic network with regional and international services to Europe, Canada, the United States, and Australia. JAL is a member of the OneWorld alliance.

JAL group operations include scheduled and non-scheduled international and domestic passenger and cargo services to 220 destinations in 35 countries worldwide, including codeshares. As of January 15, 2022, the group has a fleet of 157 aircraft.

3. Delta Air Lines

United States’ major airline, Delta stood third in the list. There was no change in Delta’s position in 2021 (post-pandemic) as compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic) in On-Time Performace.

Delta Air Lines, Inc., typically referred to as Delta, is one of the major airlines of the United States and a legacy carrier. One of the world’s oldest airlines in operation, Delta is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The airline, along with its subsidiaries and regional affiliates, including Delta Connection, operates over 5,400 flights daily and serves 325 destinations in 52 countries on six continents. 

Delta B767 (Image Courtesy – Wikimedia Commons)

Delta is a founding member of the SkyTeam airline alliance. Delta Air Lines also holds a minority stake in Hanjin KAL, the holding company of Korean Air (5.13%).

It is ranked second among the world’s largest airlines by the number of scheduled passengers carried, revenue passenger kilometres flown, and fleet size. It is ranked 69th on the Fortune 500. As of January 15, 2022, Delta has a fleet size of 843 aircraft.

4. IndiGo

InterGlobe Aviation owned IndiGo stood at the fourth position in On-Time Performance in the world in 2021. It moved two positions upwards in 2021 (post-pandemic) as compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic).

IndiGo is an Indian low-cost airline headquartered in Gurgaon, Haryana, India. It is the largest airline in India by passengers carried and fleet size, with a 53.5% domestic market share as of October 2021. 

It is also the largest individual Asian low-cost carrier in terms of jet fleet size and passengers carried, and the sixth-largest carrier in Asia with over 6.4 crores (64 million) passengers carried in the financial year 2018–19. It has its primary hub at IGI Airport, Delhi.

IndiGo A320Neo

The airline was founded as a private company by Rahul Bhatia of InterGlobe Enterprises and Rakesh Gangwal in 2006. It took delivery of its first aircraft in July 2006 and commenced operations a month later.

The airline became the largest Indian carrier by passenger market share in 2012. The company went public in November 2015. As of January 15, 2022, IndiGo has a fleet size of 253 aircraft.

5. Azul Airlines

Brazilian Carrier, Azul Airlines stood at the fifth position in On-Time Performance in 2021. It moved two positions upwards in the punctuality position in 2021 (post-pandemic) as compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic).

Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras (Azul) was established by former JetBlue Airways CEO, David Neeleman in March 2008, with the Brazilian low-cost carrier commencing operations nine months later in December 2008. Azul offers one of the largest domestic networks of any airline in South America, providing over 800 services to more than 100 destinations across Brazil.

Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras A320Neo

The carrier is based at Campinas Viracopos Airport with a secondary hub at Belo Horizonte Tancredo Neves International Airport. Azul is privately-owned and in May 2012 announced that it would merge with the fellow domestic airline, TRIP. The merger was finalised in May 2014, with the combined carrier holding a 15% share of the domestic travel market. Azul is the launch carrier for the Embraer 195-E2.

According to the Brazilian Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC), between January and December, 2019 Azul had 23.5% of the domestic and 5.0% of the international market shares in terms of revenue passenger kilometres (RPK), making it the third-largest domestic and second largest international airline in Brazil. As of January 15, 2022, Azul has a fleet size of 158 aircraft.

6. Easyjet

British low-cost airline, EasyJet stood at the sixth position in On-Time Performance in 2021. There was a downfall of two ranks in the punctuality position of the airline in 2021 (post-pandemic) as compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic).

Easyjet A320 (Image Courtesy – Airways Magazine)

easyJet is one the largest low-cost carriers in Europe, operating on over 600 routes via its primary hub at London Gatwick Airport. Utilising an extensive fleet of more than 200 A320 aircraft, the carrier operates an extensive network throughout Europe as well as northern Africa and Israel.

As of January 15, 2022, Easyjet’s fleet consists of 159 aircraft.

7. American Airlines

In the seventh position, we have American Airlines. Major US carrier, American Airlines stood at the seventh position in On-Time Performance in 2021. It moved three positions upwards in the punctuality position in 2021 (post-pandemic) as compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic).

American Airlines is a wholly-owned airline subsidiary of American Airlines Group Incorporated. With hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Washington DC and Tokyo, American Airlines operate an extensive network including domestic and regional services within North America and international services to Europe, Asia Pacific, Central America and South America.

American Airline B787 Dreamliner (Image Courtesy – Wikimedia Commons)

Following the merger of AMR Corporation and US Airways Group in 2013, US Airways integrated with American Airlines under a single Air Operators Certificate (AOC).  The airline handles more than 200 million passengers annually with an average of more than 500,000 passengers daily. As of 2019, the company employs nearly 130,000 people.

It is the world’s largest airline when measured by fleet size, scheduled passengers carried, and revenue passenger mile. American, together with its regional partners, operates an extensive international and domestic network with almost 6,800 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. As of January 15, 2022, American Airlines’ fleet consists of 901 aircraft.

8. Aeroflot Russian Airlines

Russia’s largest national carrier, Aeroflot Airlines stood at the eighth position in On-Time Performance in 2021. There was a downfall of three ranks in the punctuality position of the airline in 2021 (post-pandemic) as compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic).

Established in 1923, Public Joint Stock Company Aeroflot – Russian Airlines (Aeroflot PJSC) is part of the Aeroflot Group, a state-owned enterprise of the Russian Government. The carrier operates domestic and international passenger services, mainly from its hub at Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport. 

Aeroflot B777 (Image Courtesy – Wikimedia Commons)

Aeroflot became a member of SkyTeam in April 2006, making it the first carrier in the former Soviet Union to do so. As of March 2020, the Russian Government owns 51% of Aeroflot through the Federal Agency for State Property Management, with the rest of the shares being free-floating.

The carrier was the first Russian airline company to join IATA, in 1989. The airline flies to 146 destinations in 52 countries, excluding codeshared services. As of January 15, 2022, Aeroflot’s fleet size consists of 184 aircraft.

9. United Airlines

One of the world’s largest airlines, United stood at the ninth position in On-Time Performance in 2021. It was a single rank down in the punctuality position in 2021 (post-pandemic) as compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic).

United Airlines is one of the world’s largest airlines, following the merger with Continental Airlines in 2010. The carrier operates an extensive domestic and regional network of services from its main domestic hubs at Chicago O’Hare, Denver, Houston George Bush, Los Angeles, Newark Liberty, San Francisco, Washington Dulles and Guam airports.

United Airlines B777 (Image Courtesy – Wikimedia Commons)

United Airlines utilises a large fleet of narrow and wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft and operates international services to Central America, South America, Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa. Measured by fleet size and the number of routes, it is the third-largest airline in the world. As of January 15, 2022, United’s fleet size consists of 857 aircraft.

10. Alaska Airlines

Major American airline, Alaska Airlines stood at the tenth position in On-Time Performance in 2021. It was a single rank down in the punctuality position in 2021 (post-pandemic) as compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic).

Alaska Airlines is a listed US airline founded in 1932 by holding company Alaska Air Group, Inc. The carrier operates scheduled freight and air services to North and Central American destinations. Alaska Airlines’ operations are based largely on the West Coast of America, with transcontinental and international service operating from its hubs at Anchorage, Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles airports.

Alaska Airline A320 (Image Courtesy – Wikimedia Commons)

It is the fifth-largest airline in the United States when measured by fleet size, scheduled passengers carried, and the number of destinations served. The airline operates out of five hubs, with its primary hub being at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport. As of January 15, 2022, the fleet size of Alaska Airlines consists of 317 aircraft.

Top 10 Airlines On-Time Performance Data – OAG

Fleet Size Data – Planespotters.net