Last year was something of a mixed bag for mega airports.
Aviation data experts OAG, who recently published their 2022 ‘Punctuality League’ report, define ‘mega airports’ as the world’s 20 busiest airports by flights handled. When it came to punctuality and cancelations last year, these facilities saw quite a spread, with some improving on and others declining from their 2019 figures.
The best performers
Japan’s Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) was the world’s most punctual mega airport in 2022, with an on-time percentage (OTP) of 88.06%. This represents the proportion of the airport’s flights that operated within 15 minutes of their schedule. This represented an improvement compared to 2019, when its score was 86.6%.
In any case, that figure would also have seen it take the top spot last year, as there was a considerable gap down to second place. This spot was occupied by Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in the US state of Georgia, with an OTP score of 80.08%. This was a regression from 83.74% in 2019.
Rounding out the podium was another US facility, namely Washington State’s Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA) in the country’s Pacific Northwest. Seattle just missed out on having eight out of every 10 flights operating punctually, with an OTP score of 79.98%. This put it within 0.3% of its 2019 score of 80.27%.
Photo: Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock
Bottom of the pile
At the other end of the spectrum, the operational struggles faced by European airports last year were widely reported. Of the world’s 20 busiest airports by flights handled, London Heathrow (LHR) was the least punctual in 2022, with an OTP of just 61.53%. This was down by almost 14% vs 2019 (when it scored 75.27%).
Ranking 19th out of 20 was the French hub of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). While its OTP score fell by more than 10% (from 73.67% in 2019), its figure of 63.53% last year was still enough to see it rank above London Heathrow.
Meanwhile, over in the Netherlands, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) was perhaps the most notorious European hub when it came to operational shortcomings in 2022. Indeed, chronic understaffing forced the airport to implement a daily passenger cap to ease congestion. It ranked 18th among the world’s 20 busiest airports in terms of punctuality last year, with an on-time percentage of 65.07%.
Photo: Milosz Maslanka/Shutterstock
Comparing cancelation rates
But what about cancelations – do these figures correlate with those regarding punctuality at the world’s busiest airports? Not quite, as it happens. Indeed, while Paris CDG performed rather poorly in terms of punctuality, it had the lowest cancelation figure among the world’s 20 mega airports: just 1.24%. Other strong performers were Los Angeles International (1.41%) and Mexico City (1.52%).
Meanwhile, the worst offender for cancelations was New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA), with a whopping cancelation percentage of 5.37%. Despite this, it still ranked 13th in terms of punctuality, with an OTP of 71.88%. Neighboring Newark Liberty International (4.66%) and New York JFK (2.95%) were also high scorers.