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Report ranks WestJet most punctual airline in Canada, Air Canada 20th worldwide

WestJet Airlines Ltd. ranks as the most punctual airline in Canada, according to a travel data provider.

The Calgary-based carrier placed sixth among airlines in North America last year, OAG said in its annual report examining on-time performance.

The report also lists WestJet at No. 15 among low-cost carriers worldwide, with 79 per cent of its flights on-time.

Air Canada squeaked into the so-called punctuality league, placing 20th among “mega airlines” behind the big U.S. carriers as well as British Airways, Lufthansa, and Air China.

The Montreal-based airline’s on-time performance was 66 per cent, the report said.

Calgary and Edmonton were the only Canadian airports to reach the top 20 for on-time performance, placing 17th and 20th in the large and medium categories, respectively.

The report defines on-time performance (OTP) as flights that arrive or depart within 15 minutes of their scheduled times.

Despite a rising tide of frustration against airlines as fees increase and seat space shrinks, OAG data analyst John Grant said airlines and airports “are reaching near peak operational OTP across the world.”

Complaints about airline service in Canada increased more than 570 per cent between 2015-16 and 2017-18, according to the Canadian Transportation Agency.

The vast majority of the 5,565 passenger complaints in 2017-18 were against Canadian carriers. Flight disruptions and baggage issues were the most common reason.

Six U.S. airlines made it into the punctuality pantheon among mega airlines — defined as more than 30 million seats scheduled for departure in 2019 — including Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines.

At fourth place among the mega carriers, Delta was the top North American airline in the category with nearly 84 per cent of its flights on-time.

“Delta’s continued OTP dominance is remarkable given the size and range of its operations,” Grant said in a release.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 3, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:WJA, TSX:AC)

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly said WestJet’s North American ranking was for low-cost airlines only.


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