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Charter rankings released

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A RECENT review of charter airlines flying in and out of the UK has revealed that MyTravel, which was reported to be close to bankruptcy a few years ago, is now setting the benchmark for other charter carriers when it comes to punctuality.

For the third year running, MyTravel has improved its punctuality, finishing first in a survey of Britain’s charter airlines last summer, according to figures from the Air Transport Users Council (AUC).

The figures for April to October last year showed that just 5.4 per cent of MyTravel’s flights were delayed for more than one hour, compared with 8.5 per cent in 2005 and 12.7 per cent in 2004. The average delay was less than 15 minutes.

First Choice Airways finished second in the survey, with 8.8 per cent of its flights delayed by an hour or more and an average delay of just over 22 minutes.

The worst performing airlines were XL Airways and Monarch Airlines, with 13.9 per cent and 16.7 per cent of flights delayed by more than an hour. It is a fall from grace for XL Airways, which in past years has won awards for being the best charter airline.

“Overall, last summer saw a slight improvement in charter punctuality compared with the year before,” said AUC chairman, Tina Tietjen. “However, charter passengers still suffered more and, on average, longer delays during the summer of 2006 than they had three years previously.”

According to the AUC, about half of all flight delays are a result of air traffic control, but a significant proportion of the remaining delays are within the control of the airlines. The report also criticised airport staff for failing to keep passengers sufficiently informed during delays. “Frequent updates help to restore goodwill between passengers and airlines in what are often very tense and difficult situations for both passengers and front-line airline staff,” said a spokesman.