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EasyJet defends Belfast punctuality after frequent flyer complains of service reliability


EasyJet has been hit by strike action in France (PA)

EasyJet has been hit by strike action in France (PA)

EasyJet has been hit by strike action in France (PA)

EasyJet has defended its service reliability after a frequent flyer questioned its Belfast operation's punctuality.

The budget airline said so far this year 76% of flights arrive on time, the same as last year, but it continuously works to improve on that figure.

Derry native, Steve Bradley regularly commutes to London for his work as a consultant on regeneration.

He says he tries to avoid the easyJet service after being affected by delays over recent months. Snce May he has had two flights cancelled and delays of over an hour to deal with.

"When you go with a budget airline you don't expect things to run smoothly and the odd delay. But it should be better," he said. 

The website Airportia tracks more than 150,000 flights from 3,600 airports and 1,400 airlines over the world.

It reports on delays on the easyJet Belfast to London Gatwick daily 16.20 flight. Of the 30 flights listed for the past month, it claims there were 13 delays.

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It states the service is on time 30% of the time with the average delay being almost 34 minutes. It also reports the 8.30pm daily flight was on time on only two occasions since August.

"When I first had a flight delayed in May I started to check the departures board and just noticed there appeared to be a lot of disruption on easyJet flights," Steve continued.

"If the flights are delayed then you could arrive in London after the trains stop and have to take a slow bus or an expensive taxi ride.

"And when a Friday night flight was cancelled I had to get to Dublin and pay three times more to get the last seat on a flight to London. This can't be good for tourists if that's their last experience on leaving Northern Ireland."

EasyJet has six aircraft based at Belfast as well as employing 223 employees at the airport.

It said this year there had been more than  26 air traffic control strike days causing more than 5,000 flight cancellations with Europe’s major airlines affecting millions of passengers. The airline said it "shared passengers’ frustration over the strikes" and was continuing to raise the issue with politicians across Europe in a bid to try and lessen the impact on the travelling public.

A spokeswoman added: "easyJet operates the largest number of flights per year of any UK airline, is the largest airline in Northern Ireland carrying more than 48% of Northern Irish travellers and operates in the busiest airports and most congested airspace in Europe.

“Our own data shows easyJet’s network punctuality in Belfast for 2018 to date is around 76% - the same as 2017. This is calculated using accurate data from the aircraft.

"We have a continuous focus on punctuality as we know it is important to our customers.

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