El Al Ranked Poorly in June on Timeliness, but Delays Not So Long

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El Al planes at Ben-Gurion International Airport.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

For the third month in a row and the fourth time in five months, El Al had the worst on-time arrival rate of 40 global airlines. The Israeli carrier had the largest percentage of delayed flights, but not the longest delays.

That, according to the on-time arrival performance data provided by the Flightstats.com website.

Only 35.88% of El Al’s 2,667 scheduled flights last month arrived on time. But the airline performed considerably better, 15th out of 40, in terms of the duration of the delays. The average delay for El Al was 48 minutes.

At an average of 91 minutes, the delays for Air China were the longest. The average wait for United Airlines was 68.7 minutes. The month’s most punctual airlines, with the fewest number of delayed flights, were Qatar Airways and the Japanese carriers Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.

El Al attributed the delays to the recent labor sanctions by the airline’s pilots, but the figures suggest the problem isn’t a new one. The airline came in last for on-time performance in February, April and May, too, with only 39% and 43% of its flights arriving on time in April and May, respectively.

El Al won the same dubious distinction for last September, October and November. It was bumped out of bottom place for March, with 45 percent of its flights landing an average of 44 minutes late, by Pakistan Airlines. The percentage was similar in January, when El Al had an average delay of 38 minutes.

Two months ago, when TheMarker sought a comment from El Al management regarding the March figures, the company said the international standard for airline punctuality is the flight’s time of departure, not arrival.

The company also explained that “the flight path is programmed in order to ensure passenger safety, which sometimes involves avoiding areas of turbulence and can make the flight longer.”

This time El Al management said the pilots are to blame for the delays: “Unfortunately, El Al pilots have recently been undertaking work stoppages, disrupting the company’s activity and causing flight delays. We are constantly working to prevent delays and to get passengers to their destination safely and on time.”

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