Is your local airport one of Britain’s least reliable?

Data from the Civil Aviation Authority reveals the UK’s best and worst airports and airlines for delays.

Flight delays are all too common these days – whether its bad weather or pesky drones getting in the way of your flight path. But new data, compiled by, has now revealed which airports and airlines are the worst culprits.

Most reliable airports in the UK

Good news for those living in or near Durham – just 31% of flights leaving Durham Tees Valley airport were delayed or cancelled. Belfast wasn’t far behind with 38%, and Aberdeen had 40% of their flights delayed or cancelled.

The top five most reliable airports are listed below:

  • Durham Tees Valley
  • Belfast City
  • Aberdeen
  • Bournemouth
  • Luton
  • Most reliable airlines

British Airways was nowhere to be seen in the top five most reliable airlines. Instead, Spanish carrier Iberia were top with just 14% of their routes delayed or cancelled and an average delay time of around two-and-a-half minutes. Aeroflot, a Russian airline, came in second with 25% and an average delay of three-and-a-half minutes. The now defunct Flybmi, which closed down earlier this month after financial issues, was also in the top five, with just 43% of their flights delayed or cancelled. Below are the top five best airlines for punctuality:

  • Iberia
  • Aeroflot
  • Alitalia
  • Flybmi
  • Delta

Least reliable airports in the UK

If you don’t want to be delayed, avoid Stansted Airport. London’s Essex-based airport saw around 75% of its flights delayed or cancelled last year, and the average delay across all flights was over 30 minutes. Edinburgh was close behind in percentage of flights delayed or cancelled (62%), but fared much better with its average time delay of 20 minutes. Unsurprisingly, after 2018’s drone debacle, Gatwick sits at fourth in the least reliable airports ranking, with 62% of its flights delayed or cancelled.

Here’s the full top five least reliable airports in the UK:

  • London Stansted
  • Edinburgh
  • Manchester
  • Gatwick
  • East Midlands International

Least reliable airlines

The Portuguese national carrier came out on top as one of the least reliable for delays and cancellations – almost 85% of their flights were delayed or cancelled, and their average time delay was a whopping 20 minutes. Everyone’s least favourite airline, Ryanair, came in fourth as least reliable, with 75% of flights being delayed or cancelled, and a 25-minute average time delay.

These are the top five least reliable airlines:

  • TAP Air Portugal
  • Oman Air
  • Swiss International Airline
  • Ryanair
  • Eurowings
Lottie Gross

Lottie is an NCTJ-trained journalist, an experienced travel writer and an expert in creating compelling digital content. 

Lottie has been in the travel writing business for nearly a decade and has writing and photography bylines at The Telegraph, The Times, The Independent, the i and National Geographic Traveller. She's done broadcast work for BBC Radio 4 and have contributed to a number of guidebooks and coffee table titles during her career.