Vueling Airlines is the least punctual major airline flying from the UK, according to an investigation.

The Spanish carrier's departures were an average of 31 minutes late last year, an analysis of Civil Aviation Authority data found.

The second-worst was Thomas Cook Airlines – 24 minutes late on average, Wizz Air (23 minutes) Norwegian Air UK (22 minutes) and Eurowings (22 minutes).

Cathay Pacific Airways is the most punctual airline, taking off an average of just eight minutes behind schedule.

The analysis by the Press Association found that flights from the UK were delayed an average of 16 minutes.


The airlines looked at were ones that have more than 2,000 flights from the UK each year and cancelled flights were excluded.

A spokesman for Vueling said the airline's punctuality was "hugely affected" by industrial action in France, adding that there had been 22 strike days at Marseille last summer.

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"During these strikes, Vueling flights to and from Barcelona and the UK could not fly straight across France but instead flew south of the Pyrenees and into the Atlantic before looping back towards Britain.

"All airlines have been affected by air traffic control issues in Europe, but the location of Vueling's [Barcelona] hub close to Marseille means it has been particularly badly affected."

The airline has allocated up to 10 spare planes to fly during disruption, he added.

Image: Thomas Cook was the second least punctual in the analysis
Wizz Air plane at Luton Airport
Image: Wizz Air fared badly in the figures with an average delay of almost 23 minutes

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of trade body Airlines UK, which represents UK-registered carriers, blamed the UK's "antiquated airspace".

He added: "We support government in its efforts to introduce much needed modernisation so we can continue to safely and effectively accommodate the ever-rising demand for air travel."

Consumer magazine Which? Travel's Naomi Leach said flight delays can leave holidaymakers "hundreds of pounds out of pocket because of missed connections, transfers and fines for picking up their hire car late".

She added: "The worst airlines need to ensure they have the staff and capacity to run an on-time service – and that they look after their customRead More – Source