The average departure delay per flight for all-causes (the delay to a flight experienced by airlines, airports and passengers) increased by 1.8 minutes to 9.2 minutes per flight in 2021 compared to 2020 and was 3.8 minutes lower than 2019. In the wider 15 year context of all-causes delay, the 2021 average delay per flight was the second lowest.
The number of flights increased by 25% when compared to the lows of 2020. However, in comparison to 2019, there were still 44% fewer flights.
Arrival punctuality for the year remained high, with 84.6% of flights arriving within 15 minutes or earlier than their scheduled arrival time (STA).
Further analysis into the causes of delay shows reactionary delay contributed the most to the average delay per flight at 3.6 minutes, with airline causes ranking second with 2.9 minutes per flight.
The increase in delay due to Governmental causes* was prominent in 2021, ranking in third place and contributing 0.9 minutes to the average delay per flight, translating into a 16% share of generated primary delay minutes. As flights increased in 2021, bringing larger numbers of passengers, the governmental delay category was a significant burden to airline and airport operations, this being down to the extra time needed at check-in and departure gates, to check what their destination specifically required and whether passengers had the right combinations of COVID-19 test and vaccination certificates.
ATFM airport delay saw a small increase to 0.5 minutes in its contribution to the average delay, with enroute ATFM delay remaining low at 0.3 minutes per flight. In summary, there were fewer ATFM capacity issues in the Network, apart from some isolated issues during the peak summer months.