Birmingham airport flights delayed longest in 2021on July 10, 2022 at 11:39 pm

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But punctuality improved across all UK airports due to fewer flights caused by Covid restrictions.

Birmingham AirportImage source, Getty Images

Flights from Birmingham Airport had the longest delays in 2021, analysis of Civil Aviation Authority data suggests.

Planes left 12 minutes and 24 seconds late from Birmingham on average in 2021, which was followed by Southampton, Heathrow, Exeter and Aberdeen.

The ranking takes into account all scheduled and chartered departures, but cancelled flights are not included.

Birmingham said many delayed departures were able to make up time in the air.

This was because of a huge reduction in flight numbers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesman said that last year was “a dark time for aviation”, adding that Birmingham Airport was reduced to just a quarter of normal staffing and capacity due to Covid.

But he said “massive air traffic reductions”, meant that “flights taking off late were able to catch up en route”.

Birmingham serves long-haul destinations including Dubai, Mexico, the Caribbean and the US, as well as more than 100 short-haul routes, and is the UK’s seventh busiest airport.

It hosts bases for airlines such as, Ryanair and Tui Airways.

The BBC reported in June that the annual wage of the airport’s chief executive Nick Barton rose by 49% from £399,000 to £595,000 last year, angering trade unions.

The increase came after large-scale job cuts in the sector in the wake of the pandemic, but the airport – which is part-owned by several of the region’s councils – said its senior managers were paid in line with market rates.

The airport was used by 12.6 million passengers in 2019, before the pandemic, but just 2.5 million last year.

The Press Association, which compiled the ranking, said punctuality across all UK airports in 2021 was better than before the Covid crisis, due to the reduction in flights caused by travel restrictions.

Jo Rhodes, an expert for consumer magazine Which? Travel, said 2022 “has been a different story entirely” as the sector is struggling to cope with the spike in passenger numbers.

She went on: “Holidaymakers have endured wide-scale flight cancellations as well as unacceptably long queues at check-in, bag drop and airport security.

She called for stronger powers for the Civil Aviation Authority, including the power to directly fine airlines for rule breaking.

“Ministers should also drop their ill-conceived plans to slash compensation rates for delayed or cancelled domestic flights,” she said.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps published a plan to tackle flight disruption last month.

This included encouraging airlines to make sure their schedules are “deliverable”, an amnesty on airport slot rules – to allow carriers to hand back their take-off and landing slots without financial penalty – and permitting new aviation workers to begin training before passing security checks.

The government has also consulted on increasing the CAA’s enforcement powers and changing compensation rules for domestic flights.

Airlines such as British Airways and EasyJet have cancelled thousands of flights in recent weeks after concerns that chaotic scenes at airports will return during the summer holiday season.

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