If you are in a desperate hurry to be somewhere else then your best chance of leaving on time is to catch a flight from Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in India. According to data from aviation analytics company Cirium, leaving from that airport gives you a timely departure nine times out of ten.

Today Cirium released its Airport On-Time Monthly Performance Report for March 2023. To produce the report Cirium reviews the total number of flights in a month, which is around 3 million, for every airport globally, and categorizes those airports into four types. The four types are based mainly on seat numbers and are listed as a Global Airport (25-40m seats and serve at least three regions), Large (25-40m seats), Medium (15-25m) and Small (5-15m).

An Etihad Airbus A380-861, registration A6-APF, pulling up to an airport gate.
Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

While there are other conditions, the key one is that Cirium reviews airports where it has an 80% or better coverage of the actual gate departure time against which it can measure a flight's performance compared to its schedule. It is also worth noting that, as with other reports of this nature, an on-time departure is a flight that leaves the gate within 15 minutes of its scheduled gate departure time.

Global airports

Cirium publishes a list of the Top 20 airports in each category, which in March showed that Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (HYD) was the only global airport to break the 90% on-time departure (OTD) barrier, albeit marginally at 90.43%. The airport serves 29 airlines and 77 routes and had 14,658 scheduled single-segment flights in March.

Bengaluru Terminal 2
Photo: Bangalore International Airport Limited

Another Indian airport, Kempegowda International (BLR) in Bengaluru came second at 86.14%, followed by Bogota's El Dorado International (BOG) in Colombia. In the middle of the table in 10th position was Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA) with an OTD of 82.71%, while Copenhagen Airport (CPH) rounded out the top 20 with an OTD of 77.74%

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Large airports

Cirium highlights that the Large Airports category can also include airports listed on the Global Airports rankings, so for March the top four slots are identical in both categories. Apart from the three listed above, HYD, BLR and BOG, the fourth spot is filled by Philadelphia International (PHL), which was able to get 85.11% of flights away on time.

The middle-ranked airport was Saudi Arabia's King Khalid International (RUH) in Riyadh at 82.87%. At the other end of the table sits Boston's Logan International Airport (BOS) and Istanbul Airport (IST), with OTDs of 78.62% and 78.60%, respectively.

Medium airports

These are defined as airports with 15-25 million seats, which brings into sight more Asian destinations. With travel restrictions all but gone in Asia it will be interesting to see how the rankings change over the coming months.

Osaka Itami Airport
Photo: VINCI

For March, Japan's Osaka International (ITM) was the most punctual medium size airport, with 93.37%, the highest OTD across all categories. The airport handled 11,472 flights on 26 routes, but with only four airlines operating there its high ranking may well be the result of less complexity.

The next three slots were filled by Panama Tocumen International (PTY) at 92.15%, Santiago's Arturo Merino Benitez (SCL) at 91.08% and Lima's Jorge Chavez International (LIM) at 90.03%.

Small airports

The spread of OTDs in this category is the tightest, with the top airport achieving 92.46% and the twentieth 84.01%. Leading was Brazil's Guararapes-Gilberto Freyre International (REC) at 92.46%, which in March handled five airlines on 39 routes.

Spots two and three were filled by Japan's Chubu Centrair International (NGO) at 92.06% OTD, with 27 airlines served on 29 routes, and Beirut-Rafic Hariri International (BEY) at 89.81% for 32 airlines on 50 routes. The busiest airline in the category was Osaka's Kansai International (KIX) which handled 9,469 flights on 46 routes and managed OTDs of 87.03%, placing it seventh in the top twenty rankings for Small Airports.

Do you have a favorite, or not so favorite airport for on-time departures and arrivals? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Cirium