Detroit Metro Airport ranks 4th in punctuality

Shawn D. Lewis
The Detroit News
A United Express jet taxis as a Delta airliner touches down at Metro Airport.

Romulus — Fliers may grouse about travel annoyances, but they can rarely pin "never on time" on Detroit Metro Airport.

OAG, an air travel data company, announced Thursday the results of its punctuality survey, and Detroit's airport ranked fourth on the list of top 20 most on-time major airports, with an on-time performance of 83.8 percent.

Some of that success was attributed to the performance by Delta Airlines.

"The presence of Delta Air Lines — ranked 16th in the global list and second in the North American group — has a very strong 76 percent share of all scheduled flights operating to the airport," said John Grant, senior analyst with OAG.

"So in many respects, Detroit is very lucky that they have an airline that realizes the value of on-time performance, which is, of course, supported by the airport doing everything possible to deliver what its base airline wants."

Grant added that the analysis does highlight that high-performing airlines and base airports are linked.

Delta is quite pleased with the results.

"This is yet another testament to the hard work of Delta people, who have worked diligently to serve more customers than at any time in Delta's history with unprecedented operational reliability," said Ed Bastian, Delta CEO, when announcing the results to his staff this morning. "My appreciation for the work Delta people do has never been higher, and I'm looking forward to an exciting 2019." 

DTW also is pleased to be ranked near the top.

“We are pleased that once again, DTW has ranked high in the OAG Punctuality League study,” said Chad Newton, CEO of the Wayne County Airport Authority. “It’s not a coincidence nearly all our airline partners are ranked in the top 20 of their respective categories. DTW and our air carriers collaborate to deliver world-class customer service, which includes on-time performance.”

OAG ranks airports as small, medium, large, major and mega. Major airports, such as DTW, have between 20-30 million annual seats.

Of the top major airports, Moscow Sheremetyevo ranked first, with an on-time performance of 87 percent, followed by Doha International Airport in Doha, Qatar; and Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.

The U.S. accounted for five of the top 10 most punctual mega airlines and three of the top five mega airports.

Low-cost carriers, including Spirit, Southwest, Allegiant and WestJet, also scored well in punctuality.

“The low-cost carriers in North America continue to step up their game and invest in punctuality," Grant said. "Southwest Airline’s strategy to focus on secondary airports is especially noteworthy, as it continues to positively impact its (on-time performance)."

Out of the 86 airports Southwest services, it has more than a 10 percent share at 39 locations and over 40 percent share at 14 locations, he said.

Other key findings from OAG include:

Hawaiian Airlines, on-time performance of 87.5 percent, and Delta Air Lines,83.1 percent, were the two most punctual airlines in North America in 2018.

Low-cost carriers Spirit, 80.8 percent; Southwest, 78.2 percent; Allegiant, 76.9 percent; and WestJet, 76.3 percent, finished in the top 10 for North American airlines.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the busiest airport in the world, achieved second place in the mega airport category, with 82.2 percent; Denver, 80.7 percent, finished fourth; and Los Angeles, 80 percent, was fifth among global mega airports.

Latin American-based Copa Airlines is the world’s most punctual airline with an on-time performance  of 89.8 percent.