Belfast Telegraph

Belfast International tops list of UK's most punctual airports

By Jamie Stinson

Belfast International Airport was the most punctual airport in the UK during the final quarter of last year, the industry regulator has said.

Just under 90% of flights leaving Aldergrove took off on time, while at Belfast City Airport one in five departures were late. However, both were ahead of the UK average of 79%.

The main two Northern Ireland airports saw a slight decline in their punctuality record year-on-year, both falling by 1% compared to the fourth quarter in 2013.

The research, by the Civil Aviation Authority, included the 24 busiest airports in the UK - a classification that excludes Northern Ireland's third airport, City of Derry.

This is the first year the two bigger airports in the region were featured on the list after it was extended to include Northern Ireland.

At the other end of the scale, the London airports fared poorly, with Heathrow coming bottom (74%), Gatwick third from bottom (76%) and Stansted fifth from bottom (79%). London City Airport was third in the list, with 85% of flights leaving on time.

Alan Whiteside, operations director at Belfast International Airport, said that while he was happy with coming top, it could not take all the credit.

"We are very pleased to be in that position," he added. "But a lot of that isn't down to the airport. It's a mixture of things including the airline, the aircraft, air traffic operators and how everything else works with security and handling.

"There are a lot of people and companies involved to make that work. It's a complete team effort."

Ann McGregor, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said it was important for the business community that flights leave here on time.

"Many businesses are constantly travelling between Northern Ireland and other locations," she added. "It is also increasingly important for businesses who require access to international markets to be able to reach their destination without delay.

"Any delay in flights, either taking off or landing, causes significant inconvenience for businesspeople and may adversely affect their companies."

Belfast Telegraph