Exeter and Liverpool among shortest airport delays

The excitement of starting a holiday can be somewhat dampened when you arrive at the airport to find there is a long delay to your flight.

There are only so many coffees you can drink in the airport lounge and only so many times you can read the newspaper before the wait becomes a little annoying. Unfortunately, if you are flying from London Stansted, you could be in for a wait the next time you jet off on holiday.

New figures from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have revealed that the Essex airport was the worst for delays in the UK, with flights leaving 25 minutes late on average. Both London Luton and Birmingham clocked in delays of 19 minutes while London Gatwick (18 minutes) and Manchester (16 minutes) completed the top five.

At the other end of the scale, Belfast’s George Best Airport had average delays of just eight minutes while Liverpool John Lennon (10 minutes), Doncaster-Sheffield (12 minutes) and Exeter (12 minutes) were also ranked among the best. Even London Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport and the second busiest in the world, had just a 13-minute average delay.

Data from the CAA took into account every scheduled and chartered flights from 24 of the UK’s major airport but omitted cancelled services. It found that the average delay across the nation was 16 minutes.

The figures drew strong criticism from Which? Travel’s editor Rory Borland: “It’s completely unacceptable for passengers to be regularly delayed by nearly half an hour,” the consumer expert said.

“These delays aren’t just an inconvenience but can leave holidaymakers hundreds of pounds out of pocket because of missed connections, transfers and fines for picking up their hire car late.

“While compensation is available for delays of over three hours, airlines should stop passing the buck and make it easier for their passengers by finally introducing automatic compensation.”

The figures come shortly after Manchester Airport apologised to passengers after a power outage caused severe delays. The airport saw 43 outbound and 44 inbound flights cancelled on the evening of May 19th with some passengers stuck on planes for up to 3 hours before a cancellation was confirmed.

The airport confirmed that the issue, which had affected the fuel supply, was resolved in the early hours of the following day.