Passengers play the waiting game

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The Independent Online
Unlucky travellers had to endure average delays of more than two hours on some holiday charter airlines last summer. Others were fortunate enough to travel with carriers which experienced average delays of only about 15-16 minutes, according to the first ever charter airline punctuality table.

The worst charter airline for punctuality was Belgium's Challenge Air, which ran 65.2 per cent of its 244 flights more than one hour late and had an average delay of more than 2hours and 47 minutes. Top of the punctuality charts was VIVA, the charter arm of Spanish carrier Iberia. Only 4.9 per cent of its 680 flights was more than one hour late and its average delay was just 16.5 minutes.

The UK's biggest holiday airline, Britannia, had an average delay of 16.8 minutes on 18,679 flights - the highest number of flights in the survey. Only 7.1 per cent of Britannia flights were more than one hour late.

The statistics were supplied by passenger group the Air Transport Users Council and covered charter flights to and from nine major UK airports between April and October 1996. The airports were Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Luton, Manchester and Newcastle.