Top 10 Most Punctual Airlines of 2018

Top 10 Most Punctual Airlines of 2018

We have all been there. We plan our journeys to the second and hope nothing gets delayed. But when we arrive at the airport, we can see the dreadful sight on the departure board – your flight has been delayed. And just like that, your travel plans fall apart. Not the best feeling in the world, is it? However, we have a solution for you! But before we provide you with the answers, we would like to clarify one thing. Punctuality is measured by On-Time Performance (or OTP for short.). OTP is when the flight either arrives or departs within 15 minutes of the scheduled time. So, if a flight is delayed by 20 minutes, that flight’s OTP is negative. To illustrate, if an airline operates 2 flights per week and one of them is delayed by 20 minutes and the other one arrives on time, the airline’s OTP is 50%. So with that cleared up, we can move on! When you plan your holidays for 2019, try to fly with these airlines because they were the most punctual airlines in 2018:

10. KLM – 84.52% OTP (Last year: 30)

The first entry into the most punctual airline list is KLM. Last year KLM did not even make it to the top 10 – the airline was ranked 30th. But 2018 was a much better year for KLM, as they managed to improve significantly. The Dutch airline had a pretty successful year all around. With 10 new aircraft added to its fleet, an increased number of passengers and was the leading airline in using biofuel for over 350 flights. Congratulations, KLM!

9. Qatar Airways – 85.17% OTP (Last year: 15 )

The Qatari airline has seen an increase in its OTP compared to the last year. Although not as drastic as KLM’s jump, it was enough to secure them the 9th place on the ranking board. Another significant achievement for the airline was that it was the launch customer of the new Airbus A350-1000. Qatar Airways as a brand also made moves. Specifically, it signed sponsorship deals with Bayern Munich, AS Roma, Boca Juniors and Brooklyn Nets. It also sponsored the Fifa World Cup in Russia.

8. Azul Brazilian Airlines – 85.21% OTP (Last year: 12 )

Fairly young as an airline, Azul (AZUL) began services in 2008. In 11 years it has managed to grow significantly. It also managed to sustain its image as a punctual airline, because it has consistently had a great OTP. The third largest carrier in Brazil is on a great trend – definitely a reliable choice when planning your next trip.

7. LATAM Airlines Group – 85.60% OTP (Last year: 36 )

If you thought KLM’s jump was big – wait till you see LATAM’s! The airline jumped 29 places and became the 7th most punctual airline in the world. But, honestly speaking you cannot call it an airline, because it has 9 subsidiaries. On the other hand, having 9 subsidiaries and still managing to remain as punctual as LATAM does is impressive!

6. Qantas Airways – 86.65% OTP (Last year: 5 )

The Australian carrier reported record numbers for 2018. It carried a historical number of passengers and had the most aircraft in its fleet since its inauguration as an airline. Qantas also made the record books in 2018 with the first non-stop scheduled flight between Australia and UK. Making it to the Top 5 most punctual airlines would be a nice addition. But nobody at Qantas should be sad – 2018 was an impressive year for Qantas!

5. Bangkok Airways – 87.16% OTP (Last year: Outside the Top 30 )

Starting the top 5 most punctual airline list is Bangkok Airways. The Thai regional carrier is used to the limelight – it has managed to win the Skytrax World’s Best Regional Airline four times in a row. Quite an impressive feat for Asia’s Boutique Airline. In addition to the Skytrax awards, being one of the most punctual airlines in the world must feel nice!

4. Hawaiian Airlines – 87.52% OTP (Last year: 3 )

At number 4 is an airline from the Aloha state – Hawaiian Airlines. An airline that arguably has the most beautiful logo in the airline industry is a regular on the list. Considered one of the most punctual airlines, as it was the most punctual airline in 2016. However, this year Hawaiian Airlines encountered a quite a mountain. Well, a volcano to be exact, as Kilauea erupted in the main island of Hawaii. Nevertheless, the airline had a good year. Passenger numbers went up and a total of 9 new Airbus A321 joined Hawaiian’s (HA) fleet. Although dethroned, Hawaiian Airlines is still considered a very reliable and punctual airline. Thus, if you plan to travel to Hawaii – choose Hawaiian (HA) !

And, I mean, look at that logo. Truly a gorgeous sight:

3. Hong Kong Airlines – 88.11% OTP (Last year: 2 )

As we get into the nitty gritty of things, another regular on the most punctual airlines’ list is at 2nd place. Hong Kong Airlines is also considered to be one of the best regional airlines in Asia, as its exceptional quality, punctuality and customer service was not left unnoticed. Skytrax rated Hong Kong Airlines a 4-star airline in 2018. While its OTP dropped in 2018, the year can be considered a success for the carrier – new routes and new aircraft were introduced in the company. So, Where Hong Kong Begins, excellent flying experience also does!

2. airBaltic – 89.17% OTP (Last year: 1 )

Last year’s most punctual airline, airBaltic, unfortunately, lost its throne. The Baltic carrier had an impressive year. Increasing its passenger numbers by 17% and flew 12% more flights compared to 2017. Although missing out on the first place in the list, airBaltic has managed to improve its punctuality substantially in the last few years. The company also celebrated the 100th anniversary of Latvian freedom and released a very unique and beautiful livery, to commemorate the jubilee.

1. Copa Airlines – 89.79% OTP (Last year: 4 )

Well, this is it! Copa Airlines is the most punctual airline in 2018. The flag carrier of Panama has managed to improve its punctuality rating by a whopping 3%. With doing so, it has claimed the title of being the most punctual airline in 2018. Honestly, this doesn’t come off as a surprise – as Copa Airlines was always one of the most punctual airlines in the world for quite a few years now – so a spot in the top 5 is not something unheard of for the Panamanian airline.

Congratulations to Copa Airlines, the Most Punctual Airline of 2018!

Were you surprised by the list? While the Top 10 did not include the biggest carriers in the world, the tendency of these airlines to stay punctual has been visible throughout the years and the list always has a few usual suspects flying around!


So, to sum up. The most punctual airlines are:

10. KLM

9. Qatar Airways

8. Azul Brazilian Airlines

7. LATAM Airlines Group

6. Qantas Airways

5. Bangkok Airways

4. Hawaiian Airlines

3. Hong Kong Airlines

2. airBaltic

1. Copa Airlines

author avatar
Rytis Beresnevicius
Journalist[br][br]Rytis is a journalist in AeroTime’s editorial team, based in Vilnius, Lithuania. Originally joining the team in 2018, in 2021 he then went onto work in content creation in the logistics and IT sectors, before returning to AeroTime in 2022. He studied media and communications in both Denmark and
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