The Press Association has released a report on its analysis of the Civil Aviation Authority, (CAA), delay data, for all scheduled and chartered flights in 2018 across 24 major UK airports.
It shows Stansted had the longest average flight delays of any airport in Britain last year, as passengers were kept waiting on average 25 minutes. While the average flight delay across all the featured airports was 16 minutes.
Stansted is the fourth busiest airport in the UK and a hub for several low-cost eastern European airlines, as well as being Ryanair’s biggest base, it also covers significant operations by EasyJet and Jet2.
A spokesperson for Stansted blamed "a particularly challenging summer last year,” adding that "adverse weather and air traffic control issues had a dramatic impact on airline on-time performance". Commenting further that a multimillion-pound investment by Ryanair to support its ground operation at the airport "has already helped deliver significant service improvements to flight punctuality".
Which? Travel editor Rory Borland said: "It's completely unacceptable”. “These delays aren't just an inconvenience but can leave holidaymakers hundreds of pounds out of pocket… airlines should stop passing the buck and make it easier for their passengers by finally introducing automatic compensation."
Agreeing, Alex Neill, a managing director at Which? said delays were “one of the most frustrating things about travelling” and urged passengers to “claim what they are entitled to”. She added that airlines should introduce automatic compensation, so people receive what they are owed “without having to jump through hoops”.
In response the Airport Operators Association, (AOA), listed a "range of factors" for delays last year, such as cold weather blasts, air traffic controller strikes in Europe, and disruption partly caused by constraints of “outdated” UK airspace infrastructure. They added, “Airports are working with air traffic service providers and the government to plan and deliver the necessary changes so everyone can continue to fly with a minimum of delays.”
© 2019 Emma Connolly