Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Air Canada comes last for on-time performance in North America

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Weather conditions in Canada pose challenges for air carriers. (File photo)

The Canadian Press

Air Canada ranks last in punctuality among major North American airlines in 2023, according to a report from aviation data company Cirium.

Canada's largest airline arrived on time for 63% of its flights last year. The company is thus in last place among the 10 largest airlines in North America. Approximately 140,000 planes arrived late at the gate, more than 15 minutes after their scheduled arrival time.

This figure was five percentage points lower than the second and third lowest carriers, JetBlue Airways and Frontier Airlines, respectively. x27;another major Canadian carrier, ranked seventh with an on-time rate of 69%.

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines comes out on top with a rate of 85%, followed by Alaska Airlines with 82%.

Air Canada says these results reflect the challenges that have affected air carriers in Canada throughout the year.

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However, our operations continually improved, such that by the end of the year our monthly on-time performance improved by more than 10 percentage points compared to July, a significant increase, its spokesman, Peter Fitzpatrick, said in an email.

Reducing the number of delayed and canceled flights remains a priority for the company, he added.

In the past, Air Canada has noted that a shortage of air traffic controllers, weather conditions and a network operating at full capacity in a context of high demand could lead to delays longer before recovering from a period of disruption.

President and CEO Michael Rousseau admitted that Air Canada's on-time performance rate was relatively lower, particularly after a wave of flight delays in June and July.

Even with more staff and technology investments, the carrier's operations didn't always match expectations, he told analysts on a conference call in August .

The head of Air Canada attributed its difficulties to severe weather conditions – thunderstorms in particular – and global supply chain problems. We spend a lot of time improving our punctuality, he insisted.

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Michael Rousseau has been the CEO of Air Canada since February 2021.

He also acknowledged that high occupancy rates – when all planes are almost fully booked – led to knock-on effects after flights were canceled as passengers rushed to rebook with competitors and could arrive hours or days later than expected.

Other reasons may also explain delays. The cold weather in Canada means that planes must be de-iced as early as October, runways must be cleared of snow and landing and take-off times are more spread out.

Winter obstacles make it difficult to achieve punctuality rates in Canada similar to those observed in the United States.

The relatively mild temperatures across the country during the holidays allowed most passengers to travel without a hitch. This result contrasts with reports of difficult travel last year, when thousands of passengers saw their flights delayed or canceled largely due to poor weather conditions.

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