[THE INVESTOR] Korean airlines failed to rank in the top 10 list of airlines with the best on-time record in 2016, according to the airline statistics website FlightStats on Jan.9, with the airliners pointing to congested traffic at major airports as the reason.
Both Korean full-service carriers Korean Air and Asiana Airlines were missing from the On-Time Performance Services Awards winners‘ list, which was led by the Netherlands airline KLM, with 88.52 percent of flights arriving within 15 minutes of the scheduled time. KLM was followed by Spanish airline Iberia (88.18 percent) and Japan Airlines (87.80 percent).
Korean Air ranked in the top 10 in 2013 with an 83.47 percent on-time record, but dropped off the list in 2014 and has since continued to fall. Last year, the on-time record for Korean Air was 68.3 percent. Rival Asiana Airlines came in with 62.5 percent.
According to the two airlines, the drop in on-time flights was due to increased traffic at hub airports in Korea including Incheon Airport and Jeju International Airport.
“There was increased traffic at Incheon Airport, which serves as a hub airport, and more flights have been passing through Chinese airspace, causing delays,” said a spokesman for Korean Air.
“In addition to more air traffic at Korean airports, we saw delays at major Chinese airports as well, slowing down arrivals,” said an Asiana Airlines spokesman.
FlightStats‘ figures on arrival delays at Incheon Airport showed that delays fell to around 25 percent of all flights in the spring months of March through May, but soared to nearly 45 percent in July and rose again during the holiday months.
According to numbers from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the impact of increased air traffic coming from the growth of low-cost carriers was more severe for domestic flights. Delays on domestic flights at Incheon International Airport grew from 6.74 percent to 7.53 percent between 2014 and 2015, while international flight delays rose from 4.25 percent to 4.68 percent.
Domestic flight delays at Jeju International Airport, which sees heavy domestic air traffic, grew from 10.12 percent to 13.71 percent in the same period.
By Won Ho-jung/The Korea Herald(firstname.lastname@example.org)