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The Most On-Time Airlines and Airports of 2023 | Frommer's alice-photo / Shutterstock

The Most On-Time Airlines and Airports of 2023

More than 32 million passenger flights were scheduled in 2023, and global carriers managed to stay punctual about 83% of the time, according to a new report from Cirium, an aviation analytics company. 

North America's record wasn't quite as impressive, with an overall on-time arrival rate of 74.45%, per the report.

But look on the bright side: At least 2023's figure is (virtually) no worse than 2022's 74.26%, even though 2023 saw approximately 400,000 more scheduled flights than the previous year. 

For the record, Cirium defines on-time performance as flights arriving or departing within 15 minutes of their scheduled times. On-time arrivals are used to rank airlines, and on-time departures are used to rank airports. 

By that criteria, the world's most on-time airline in 2023 was Colombia's Avianca, whose flights left on time at a rate of 85.73%. That edged out last year's winner, Azul Airlines of Brazil. Azul came in second in 2023 with an on-time arrival rate of 85.51%.

The highest-ranking U.S.-based carrier was Delta Air Lines in fourth place with an on-time rate of 84.72%. Only one other North American carrier cracked the top 10—American Airlines came in 10th with an on-time rate of 80.61%.

The world's most on-time airlines in 2023:

1. Avianca (Colombia)
2. Azul Airlines (Brazil)
3. Qatar Airways
4. Delta Air Lines
5. Iberia (Spain)

On the airports list, two U.S. facilities appear in the top 5 of Cirium's punctuality honor roll, including in first place, occupied by Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport (MSP), with an on-time departure rate of 84.44%. 

Meanwhile, Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) came in fifth with an impressive 83.99% on-time record for the year. 

India also had a strong showing, with Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (HYD) logging the world's second-best on-time rate (84.42%) and Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport (BLR) taking third place with a rate of 84.08%.

The Hyderabad airport merits special praise from Cirium because the facility didn't even make the top 10 in 2022. Cirium's chief marketing officer, Mike Malik, told CNBC he credits the turnaround to some "pretty phenomenal" investments in technology and operations.

The world's most on-time airports in 2023:

1. Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport (MSP): 84.44% on-time departure rate
2. Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (Hyderabad, India; HYD): 84.42%
3. Kempegowda International Airport (Bangalore, India; BLR) : 84.08%

4. El Dorado International Airport (Bogotá, Colombia; BOG): 84.01%
5. Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC): 83.99%

Just missing the cutoff for the top 5 were three more U.S. airports: Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW; 83.09%), Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA; 82.97%), and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL; 82.75%).