Avianca has been named the most punctual airline in the world for 2023.

The Colombian carrier had an on-time rate of 85.73% in the data by aviation analytics provider Cirium, placing it ahead of Brazil’s Azul Airlines, Qatar Airways, Delta Air Lines (US) and Iberia (Spain).

It’s been a roller coaster few years for Avianca after it filed for bankruptcy in 2020, underwent a massive restructure and failed in a bid to take over a low-cost rival. However, it has expanded its network and brought in new planes.

David White, Senior Director of Advanced Initiatives at Cirium, was full of praise for Avianca: “The world’s second-oldest airline has made itself new again with new aircraft, new branding, new destinations, and an expanded mission.

“Avianca embodies the qualities necessary to thrive in challenging times – agility, adaptability, resilience, determination, and a clear strategic vision. Cirium offers Avianca its heartfelt congratulations on an outstanding 2023 performance.”

The airline was founded in 1919, forming soon after Dutch carrier KLM. It was called SCADTA and only became Avianca in 1940 after merging with another airline. It’s claim to be the second-oldest airline is contentious, but it counts its pre-merger history as one continuous business.

Interestingly, the airline wasn’t the most punctual in the Latin America category. That was Panama’s Copa Airlines (89.46%), but to be recognised as a global airline by Cirium, it needs to operate services to three continents daily, which Copa does not.

Frederico Pedreira, CEO of Avianca, called the award a “milestone that positions Colombia as a reference in the industry”.

“Being the most punctual airline is a tremendous achievement of the more than 14,000 people who are part of our team and are committed to connecting Latin America with the world.”

In the Asia-Pacific region, there was a Japan one-two at the top. All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines headed Thai AirAsia, IndiGo (India) and Air New Zealand.

Our national carrier had an on-time percentage of 79.68% and is the only Australasian airline in the top 10.

Air New Zealand Chief Operating Officer Alex Marren told Stuff Travel said it was “fantastic to see Air New Zealand come out on top for on-time performance in Australia and New Zealand as well as fifth overall in Asia Pacific”.

“We know that being on-time is important to our customers and we strive for that with each and every flight. There’s still plenty of room to improve and we’re always looking at how we can add more resilience to our network to ensure our services consistently arrive on schedule, including how we turn aircraft for the next service or how we can more quickly recover from a weather event.”

She added that the goal was to increase on-time performance to more than 83%.

In other categories, Delta was honoured with the Cirium Platinum Award for the third year in a row. It is given to airlines that excel in on-time performance while navigating considerable operational complexities. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (US) was named the most on-time airport in the world, ahead of India’s Rajiv Gandhi International and Kempegowda International airports. Christchurch Airport makes an appearance in the ‘Small Airports’ category in 15th place.

Top 10 most punctual airlines worldwide

  1. Avianca (Colombia) 85.73%
  2. Azul (Brazil) 85.51%
  3. Qatar Airways 85.11%
  4. Delta Air Lines (US) 84.72%
  5. Iberia (Spain) 84.38%
  6. LATAM Airlines (Chile) 84%
  7. All Nippon Airways (Japan) 82.75%
  8. Japan Airlines 82.58%
  9. Saudia (Saudi Arabia) 81.29%
  10. American Airlines) 80.61%

Top 10 most punctual airlines in Asia Pacific

  1. All Nippon Airways (Japan) 82.75%
  2. Japan Airlines 82.58%
  3. Thai AirAsia 82.52%
  4. IndiGo (India) 82.12%
  5. Air New Zealand 79.68%
  6. Garuda Indonesia 78.67%
  7. Singapore Airlines 78.57%
  8. Philippine Airlines 77.46%
  9. Vietnam Airlines 77.46%
  10. Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong) 76.32%