Nothing may rankle passengers more than a delayed flight, but thankfully, travelers flying out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport have a good chance of getting to their destination on time. Those returning or connecting here do too.
The airport came in fifth in the world in 2016 for the percentage of flights that operated on time at major airports according to the OAG Punctuality League, which measures the on-time performance of airlines and airports, both domestic and abroad.
More than 84 percent of flights at MSP were on time, according to the survey of airports with more than 20 million seats available each year. For the second straight year, Tokyo’s Haneda airport grabbed the No. 1 spot with 87.49 percent of flights on schedule. Coming in second was Sao Paulo Guarulhos at 85.28 percent followed by Detroit at 84.64 percent, Atlanta at 84.57 percent and MSP at 84.46 percent. Other U.S. airports making the world’s top 20 include No. 6 Seattle, No. 10 Phoenix, No. 11 Charlotte, No. 12 Houston Bush Intercontinental, No. 14 Denver, No. 17 Dallas-Fort Worth, No. 18 Orlando and No. 19 Las Vegas.
The league defines on time as flights that arrive or depart within 14 minutes and 59 seconds of scheduled arrival or departure time. Cancellations are also included. The OAG based its report on schedule fight data from airports and airlines.
Naturally, the lofty ranking had airport officials smiling — and likely passengers, too.
“From an airport authority standpoint, our primary contribution is making sure airlines have access to adequate infrastructure and that the infrastructure is well maintained,” said airport spokesman Pat Hogan. “That’s a particular challenge for northern-tier airports such as MSP, where snow removal is a routine necessity for operations, and we pride ourselves on having one of the most efficient snow removal teams of any airport in North America.”
Despite the strong showing, MSP actually dropped one spot from 2015 when it ranked fourth on the list with 85.27 percent of on time flights. The airport is the 16th busiest in North America.
A big reason for the No. 5 ranking was the performance of Delta Air Lines, the dominant carrier at MSP. With 84.29 percent of its flights on time systemwide, Delta ranked as the 15th best in the world. That impressed the OAG, which noted that the airline operated the second largest number of flights of any airline in 2016 with more than 1.8 million. “For an airline of its size, the fact that over 84 percent of all flights arrived on time over a year is a remarkable achievement.”
The most punctual mainline airline in 2016 was Hawaiian Air with an 89.87 percent on-time rate. Just behind was Copa, KLM, Quantas and Japan Airlines.
The report also ranked airlines’ performance by region, and in North America, locally based Sun Country Airlines checked in as the seventh most punctual carrier with just under 80 percent of flights operating on schedule.
Low-cost airlines may be cheaper, but they are more likely to be tardy. Southwest Airlines, the largest budget carrier in the world and the second largest carrier at MSP, was seventh best in the world with 81.04 percent of flights taking off or landing on time. Other North American budget carriers in the top 20 were No. 6 WestJet with 81.36 percent on schedule, No. 12 Frontier Airlines (76.7 percent), No. 15 JetBlue (75.26) and No. 18 Spirit Airlines (73.92).
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