SA airports overcome sector upheaval to remain in top tiers of global punctuality

SA airports overcome sector upheaval to remain in top tiers of global punctuality

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s three largest airports overcame considerable upheaval in the local aviation sector in 2019 to remain in the top tiers of global on-time performance with rankings of second, ninth and tenth in their respective categories.

This is according to the annual Punctuality League tables published by OAG, a global travel data firm that ranks several hundred airports and airlines operating in all parts of the world.

The OAG Punctuality League is based on 57.7 million flight records using full-year data from 2019 to create a ranking of the best on-time performance for the world’s largest airlines and airports.

Deon Cloete, the acting group executive of airports management at Airports Company South Africa (Acsa), said punctuality was a key indicator of operational efficiency.

“The importance of punctuality and efficiency extends well beyond being items on a business performance scorecard. They are the core components of passenger satisfaction and a critical focus for our airports. Ultimately, on-time performance creates predictability which is an essential value-add for passengers,” said Cloete.

Cloete also highlighted the on-time performance of FlySafair, a significant customer of Acsa, which produced on-time performance of 94.4 percent.

This was the top airline on-time performance in the Middle East and Africa. Globally, only Garuda Airlines of Indonesia scored higher (95.01 percent), although in a different size category.

“To score the second-highest on-time performance out of all airlines around the world is a wonderful achievement and we extend our heartiest congratulations to the FlySafair team,” said Cloete.

With on-time performance of 92.5 percent, Cape Town International Airport was second in the medium category for airports with 5-million to 10-million departing passengers per year.

King Shaka International Airport came in at ninth position in the small airports' category for airports with 2.5 million to 5 million departing passengers per year with on-time performance of 83.59 percent.

In the category for large airports, defined as processing 10 million to 20 million departing passengers, OR Tambo International Airport reported on-time performance of 83.01 percent for 10th position out of all airports in that category.

South African Airways (SAA), the embattled state-owned airline, recently placed under business rescue, has been named as one of the top-performing airlines globally for on-time performance (OTP) by travel data and analytics company, Cirium.

According to Cirium report, SAA was ranked fourth in the category for the Middle East and Africa mainline carriers, ahead of some of its major competitors, making SAA the leading African carrier on OTP.

SAA acting chief executive Zuks Ramasia said according to the International Airlines Transport Association’s benchmark of OTP, an airline is on-time when it arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled time of arrival or departs within 15 minutes of the scheduled departure time. “We are excited that most of the time we adhere to these deadlines.”

SAA’s overall on-time performance across its route network is 85.69 percent.

Cloete said the challenges experienced by the local aviation sector over the past year highlighted the importance of collaboration and flexibility among the dozens of entities and thousands of employees working in an airport environment.

“Typically, only around 10 percent of people working at an airport are directly employed by the owner of the airport, in this case Airports Company South Africa. The bulk of people working at an airport work for airlines, ground handling companies, security contractors and dozens of airline suppliers,” said Cloete.

“Keeping an airport operating efficiently is therefore very complex, requires extremely tight collaboration and an ability to respond to events as they happen.

“We are pleased that as airport communities we have been able to maintain good levels of on-time performance and we appreciate the daily efforts of every person working at our airports,” he said.