Ready for take off? Not at Stansted: Essex airport has the worst delays with flights held up by more than 25 minutes on average
- Departures from the Essex airport were an average of 25 minutes late
- Stansted is fourth busiest airport in the UK, used by 28million passengers a year
- Birmingham and Luton were joint second with aircraft typically taking off 19 minutes behind schedule
Stansted was the worst UK airport for flight delays last year, an investigation has found.
Departures from the Essex airport were an average of 25 minutes late, according to an analysis of Civil Aviation Authority data.
Stansted is the fourth busiest airport in the UK, and is used by 28million passengers a year.
It is a hub for holidaymakers travelling across Europe on low-cost airlines including Ryanair, EasyJet and Jet2.
London Stansted was the worst UK airport for flight delays last year, an investigation has found
Passengers wait and queue following flight disruption at London Stansted Airport in Stansted Essex, Britain
Birmingham and Luton notched up the joint second worst punctuality performance, with aircraft typically taking off 19 minutes behind schedule.
The analysis by the Press Association news agency took into account every scheduled and chartered flight from 24 UK airports in 2018. Cancelled flights were not included.
Average UK flight delays from last year
It found that flights across all featured airports were delayed by an average of 16 minutes in 2018.
Belfast City (George Best) recorded the best performance, with an average delay of eight minutes.
Liverpool (John Lennon) was in second place at ten minutes, followed by Doncaster Sheffield, Exeter and Bournemouth, all with 12-minute average delays.
Heathrow, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Aberdeen and Isle of Man all had a 13-minute average.
Rory Boland, editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel, said: ‘It’s completely unacceptable for passengers to be regularly delayed by nearly half an hour.
‘These delays aren’t just an inconvenience but can leave holidaymakers hundreds of pounds out of pocket because of missed connections, transfers and fines for picking up their hire car late.
‘While compensation is available for delays of over three hours, airlines should stop passing the buck and make it easier for their passengers by finally introducing automatic compensation.’
A spokesman for Stansted said: ‘Following a particularly challenging summer last year when adverse weather and air traffic control issues had a dramatic impact on airline on-time performance, Ryanair committed to a multi-million-pound investment in additional resourcing and equipment to support its ground operation at London Stansted.
Birmingham and Luton notched up the joint second worst punctuality performance, with aircraft typically taking off 19 minutes behind schedule
‘This has already helped deliver significant service improvements to flight punctuality.’
Trade body the Airport Operators Association said delays are caused by a ‘range of factors’.
Last year the Beast from the East and strikes by air traffic controllers in France and Belgium led to problems.
The number of cancelled flights from UK airports almost doubled last year, according to a report from claims firm AirHelp.
A combination of airline strikes, a pilot shortage and bad weather made 2018 the ‘worst year on record’ for disruption across Europe.
Analysis of flight data found that one in four outbound flights were delayed or cancelled in the year to September 22.
Of the 692,800 flights scheduled to leave the UK over that period, 164,690 were delayed by at least 15 minutes and 10,640 were cancelled.
The number cancelled rose by 87 per cent from 5,700 over the same period of the previous year.
Birmingham Airport joint second most delayed with an average flight taking off 19 minutes late