Flight punctuality at major UK airports fell in the first part of this year, according to official figures.
The number of scheduled flights arriving and departing on time at 10 main airports from January to March 2013 was 78% – a 4% dip on the same period last year, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said.
The average delay across all scheduled flights monitored was 13 minutes, three minutes more than in the first three months last year.
The punctuality of charter flights during that time dipped 2% to 69%, although the average delay fell from 22 minutes to 21 minutes. The statistics related to flights at Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, London City, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports.
However, Dave Laws, chief executive at Newcastle International Airport, said the figures were skewed by two weeks of severe weather that wreaked havoc across the UK in January.
Laws said: “It is a great shame that the excellent performance of the snow team and operational staff at Newcastle Airport during those two weeks of bad weather in January have impacted on the statistics. For many years Newcastle has been in the top, or close to the top in terms of punctuality stats. We welcome the fact that the CAA have recognised the unique set of circumstances that we were faced in January. Because our focus was on avoiding cancellations as a result of weather at Newcastle, of which there were none, we did encounter delays while we cleared the runway. We also experienced delays as a result of disruption at some of the bigger airports including Heathrow.”
A CAA spokesperson, said: “The data is impacted by operating conditions at the airports surveyed and factors that can be outside of both airports and airlines controls.”