More than a quarter of flights out of Luton Airport from January to April were delayed, latest figures have shown.
A total of 6,073 flights or 28%, were delayed, while 120 were cancelled. EasyJet had 25% of its flights delayed and Wizz Air had 35% of delayed flights.
For April, the number of delayed flights stood at 38% – but the good news was that only 0.6% of flights had been cancelled.
A spokesman for London Luton Airport explained: “Flights can be delayed for a variety of reasons, many of which are often outside our direct control, such as weather, air traffic restrictions and the late arrival of an aircraft. Despite this, the vast majority of departing flights are prepared and ready for take-off within the time required by the airline”.
New figures from the Civil Aviation Authority reveal which UK airports were hit hardest by disruption over the Easter break, when holidaymakers faced mass delays and cancellations.
April saw flight punctuality fall to its lowest levels so far this year at the vast majority of large UK airports, analysis of data from the CAA shows.
Southampton Airport fared worst for cancellations in April, with 4.5% of flights called off.
Only flights cancelled at short notice are counted in the statistics. Cancelled flights are defined as those which are called off within 24 hours of the scheduled departure time.
Looking at delays as well as cancellations, Birmingham Airport fared the worst, with only 59% of flights arriving and departing on time in April.
This was followed by Manchester Airport, with a punctuality rate of 59%, and Doncaster Sheffield Airport, at 60%.
East Midlands International Airport had the best punctuality record, with 84% of flights arriving or leaving on schedule, followed by Exeter at 81% and London City at 78%. In Luton 72% of flights left on time.
Officials count a flight as delayed if it is more than 15 minutes late.
Aviation experts say it is a lack of trained and vetted staff, both within airports and on airlines, that is at the root of the problems.
On Tuesday, June 21, the Government set out plans which aim to prevent last-minute flight cancellations.
The regulations will allow a one-off ‘amnesty’ on airport slots rules, allowing airlines to deliver a more realistic summer schedule based on their staffing levels. The Department for Transport said this was being provided as an exceptional measure.
Flight slots are used to manage capacity at the busiest airports, giving an airline permission to use the runway, terminal and gates at an airport on a specific date and time.
Airlines must use slots a certain amount of times each season in order to keep them. However, many parts of the sector have been unable to recruit enough staff in time to fly the number of flights they have planned for.
The Government plans to give airlines a short window to temporarily hand back slots for the rest of the summer season that they are not confident they will be able to operate.
Richard Moriarty, Chief Executive of the CAA, said: “Providing passengers with certainty this summer is vital and this intervention will help to relieve the pressures we see being experienced by the aviation industry and its customers. Short-term measures are welcomed, but a continued focus on the unplanned and inevitable operational challenges is crucial for consumer confidence this summer.”
Luton Today has approached the airlines for comment.