As Europe freezes, Arctic airline tops punctuality ratings

Despite significant seasonal disruption to air travel around the world over the past few weeks, one airline has proved that cold weather needn't cause chaos.

Norwegian carrier Widerøe has been the most "on-time" carrier in Europe for two months now - despite the fact that some 20 of its published destinations are inside the Arctic Circle. In December 83.99 percent of Widerøe's flights arrived within 15 minutes of schedule, securing the airline first place ahead of Spain's Vueling Airlines and Austria's Tyrolean Airways.

"The added kick here is that an airline that flies across and around the Arctic Circle has actually beaten a major airline in Spain," said Widerøe press officer, Siw Sanvik.

Widerøe admits that the winter weather in Norway has been favorable this year, although Tromsø, the city boasting northern Norway's largest airport, has an average annual temperature of 3°C (37.4°F) and is known as a particularly snow-prone area. In the US, west coast carriers recorded the best performance in December, Hawaiian Airlines topping the list with 86.55 percent of flights on schedule.

Britain's London Stansted airport was the worst-performing airport for on-time flights, according to Flightstats.com, with under 48.45 percent of flights operating on schedule because of the weather. Tokyo Haneda airport was the most punctual at 90.72 percent, followed by Korea's Seoul airport at 85.95 percent and Tokyo Narita at 85.71 percent.

Top 50 World Airports - December 2009 Arrival Performance

  1. Tokyo Haneda, JP - 90.72%
  2. Seoul Incheon, KR - 85.95%
  3. Tokyo Narita, JP - 85.71%
  4. Singapore Changi, SG - 80.38%
  5. Kuala Lumpur International, MY - 79.73%
  6. Hong Kong International, HK - 79.71%
  7. Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, TH - 79.41%
  8. Sydney, NS, AU - 79.38%
  9. Taiwan Taoyuan, TW - 79.14%
  10. Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta, ID - 79.11%

Source: http://www.flightstats.com

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