Travel: Airport chaos worsens

Click to follow
Delays at British airports are getting worse, with package holiday passengers bearing the brunt of the hold-ups, the latest figures show. Only 51 per cent of charter flights took off or landed on time, or no more than 15 minutes late, in the July-September 1997 period. Of 10 major airports, only Gatwick had lower average delays last summer than in July- September 1996, the Civil Aviation Authority reported. The average summer 1997 delay at the 10 airports was 39 minutes for charter flights and 12 minutes for scheduled flights. This compared with figures of 38 minutes for charters and 10 minutes for scheduled in July-September 1996. A total of 51 per cent of charter flights and 72 per cent of scheduled ones took off on time last summer compared with52 per cent and 78 per cent respectively in 1996.

The average delay on charter flights at Gatwick in summer 1997 was 50 minutes compared with 54 minutes in summer 1997, while scheduled flight delays at the West Sussex airport fell from 17 minutes to 16 minutes. Of the other airports surveyed, Manchester had the longest average charter flight delays in summer 1997, rising from 34 minutes to 38 minutes. Birmingham airport had the highest percentage of flights on time or no more than 15 minutes late - 82 per cent for scheduled and 65 per cent for charters. But both these figures were down on 1996 ones. Despite an average improvement in delays, Gatwick still had the lowest number (41 per cent) of charter flights on time in July-September 1997.