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TRAVEL NEWS

Spain’s Iberia airline named most punctual in Europe

Despite a year of post-pandemic travel demand compounded by staff shortages and strike action across the continent, Iberia was Europe's most punctual airline in 2022 and Spanish companies performed strongly overall in rankings released recently.

Spain's Iberia airline named most punctual in Europe
An Iberia airline Airbus A-320 lands at Brussels Airport. Photo: Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD/AFP

Iberia has been named the most ‘on-time’ airline in Europe in 2022, according to data from Cirium, an aviation analytics firm.

In the report, Iberia received a punctuality score of 88.87 percent on a total of 91,154 flights throughout the year. A ‘on-time’ flight is defined as one that arrives within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival time at the scheduled gate.

2022 was, of course, a year that saw certain pressures on the aviation sector. With Covid-19 travel restrictions finally lifted in many parts of the world, the sector experienced a post-pandemic surge in demand as travellers tried to make up for lost time and enjoy their newfound freedoms.

This surge was then compounded by staff shortages and strike action at airlines around Europe, making Iberia’s performance in 2022 rather remarkable amid such a perfect storm of pressures.

Javier Sánchez-Prieto, President of Iberia, said in a statement that “punctuality is one of the most precious values for our customers, so this award is a great source of pride for us and a recognition for the great work of each and every one of the employees who make our planes take off and land on time. Congratulations to the entire Iberia team that has worked together for a common goal. Few milestones better demonstrate the spirit of teamwork, commitment, professionalism and pride in duty than punctuality, because all areas of the company must be coordinated perfectly like an orchestra to guarantee the success of the operation.”

Spanish airlines flying high

But Iberia wasn’t the only Spanish airline that performed well in the rankings.

In fact, Spanish airlines took the top four spots in Europe: with Air Europa coming in second, Iberia’s budget airline, Iberia Express, in third, and Vueling in fourth.

Air Europa managed 84.10 percent punctuality rate, out of a total of 48,163 flights. Iberia Express and Vueling reached 83.80 percent and 82.04 percent punctuality, respectively.

Vueling operated a huge number of flights, 197,546, in 2022, while Iberia Express operated just 35,655.

After the four Spanish airlines, the rankings were Austrian, with 82 percent punctuality, Norwegian Air Shuttle (81.29 percent), ITA Airways (80.29 percent), Norwegian Air International (79.03 percent), Finnair (75.16 percent) and LOT Polish Airlines (75.08 percent).

Member comments

  1. Yes….but the punctuality shouldn’t be at the expense of cleanliness. Despite the Iberia President’s claim that punctuality is one of the most precious values, there are other equally important considerations. (See Trek Trendy account of flying Iberia surrounded by gross filth.)

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TRAVEL NEWS

How Spain’s air traffic control strike could hit your travel plans

Many of Spain’s air traffic controllers have been called to strike over the next month. Find out which dates and which airports will be affected.

How Spain's air traffic control strike could hit your travel plans

The workers’ unions USCA and CCOO have called around 162 air traffic controllers working at privatised control towers around the country to organise walkouts throughout February, affecting 28.5 percent of all air traffic in Spain.

The walkouts began on Monday January 30th and will continue every Monday until February 27th during “all work shifts that begin between 00:00 and 24:00,” they stated. Specifically, the strike days will occur on February 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th.

The airports affected by the strike will be A Coruña, Alicante-Elche, Castellón, Cuatro Vientos (Madrid), El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Ibiza, Jerez, Lanzarote, La Palma, Lleida, Murcia, Sabadell, Seville, Valencia and Vigo.

The Ministry of Transport has set minimum services depending on the type of route, which reaches 100 percent for emergency flights, the transfer of citizens or foreigners guarded by police officers and the transport of post and perishable products.  

For commercial flights with routes originating or ending at non-peninsular airports, the minimum services range between 52 percent from Lleida to 84 percent from La Coruña, depending on the estimated occupancy.

In the case of routes between foreign or Spanish cities whose travel time by road is at least five hours, the minimum services will be between 44 percent from La Palma and 57 percent from Alicante.  

For routes that can be replaced by other means of public transport in less than five hours, the minimum guaranteed services will be between 18 percent from Castellón and 30 percent from Vigo.

The workers are asking for a 5.5 percent salary increase but the proposal offered by their employers, which is 2 percent in 2023 and 2.5 percent in 2024, is “very far from their demands”.

The USCA and CCOO unions have decided to call the stoppages due to “the failure of the negotiations” with the Business Association of Civil Air Traffic Providers of the Liberalised Market (APCTA). They finally gave up trying to find a solution after several “unfruitful” meetings.

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