Aug 13, 2015

    2 S'pore carriers slip in punctuality ranking


    CHINESE carriers were among the least punctual airlines in the world last month. Singapore carriers ranked much better, but a couple have slipped.

    A report from Civil Aviation Data Analysis, a Chinese organisation that tracks on-time performances of 103 major global carriers, said that last month, China's three major carriers were rated 86th or worse.

    Singapore carriers fared better. Tigerair was No. 22, with 94.32 per cent of its flights on schedule. It fell from 11th spot in January.

    Singapore Airlines was ranked No. 35, with 92.89 per cent of its flights on schedule. Its rank in January was the same.

    SilkAir was No. 36, down from No. 14. Last month, its flights were 92.7 per cent on time.

    The top spot last month was taken by Thailand's budget airline, Nok Air, with an on-time rating of 98.99 per cent. The airline was not ranked in January.

    Of the three major Chinese carriers ranked, Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines was the best at 86th with an on-time rating of 70.45 per cent. It was No. 91 in January.

    Beijing-based Air China was 93rd with 66.41 per cent. Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines was 94th, with only 64.46 per cent of its flights on schedule.

    No Chinese carriers appear on the top 10 list for the most punctual airlines in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the report, Asia's top three airlines for punctuality are Nok Air, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.

    The report did not include several airlines such as Malaysia Airlines and Qantas.

    Among the Chinese airlines, TransAsia Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways and EVA Air were the most punctual.

    Taipei-based TransAsia was 65th, while Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific was 74th and EVA, also based in Taipei, was 78th. Beijing-based Okay Airways had the highest punctuality rate among all Chinese-mainland carriers, at 80th.

    The report is consistent with findings from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), which said last month that only 68.37 per cent of China's flights landed on time last year, due to factors that included air traffic control and weather.

    More than 80 per cent of flights in the Chinese mainland were punctual before 2009, but the percentage has fallen every year since 2010, hitting a record low last year, according to the CAAC report. Among the delayed flights, about 36.09 per cent were 30 minutes late or less, while 2.88 per cent faced delays of more than four hours.

    Bad weather and a spike in passengers were the major causes for last month's high percentage delay rate, industry experts said.

    China's air traffic has grown annually by double digits in the last several years, and as many as 391.95 million trips were made via airlines last year, up 10.7 per cent from 2013, CAAC said.

    "China's air passenger numbers are growing at an unparalleled rate over the years, so much needs to be done to increase punctuality, such as improving management efficiency and handling facilities," said Li Lei, an industrial analyst with Minzu Securities.

    July and August are traditionally the peak season for travellers, so carriers and airports are often under great pressure to handle the sudden increase in flights, the analyst added.

    Many air passengers are now buying flight insurance. Purchases of delay insurance last month were 30 per cent higher than they were in June, and 20 to 30 per cent more customers of those buying the insurance claimed the 200 yuan (S$44) compensation during the same period, said Mao Yi, head of the public relations department with Shanghai-based budget carrier Spring Airlines.

    In addition, July and August are also the stormy season in southern areas, so passengers flying to the south are more likely to buy insurance, as their counterparts travelling to the north do in November and December.

    Spring Airlines was the nation's first carrier to offer flight delay insurance. Passengers can buy the insurance at 20 yuan per flight, and the insurance company will pay 200 yuan in compensation for flights delayed for more than three hours.


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