man's hand holding boarding pass at airport

According to an analysis carried out by AirHelp, of the European countries with the most air traffic, Portugal is the third worst in terms of punctuality. Globally, Eurowings, Lufthansa’s low-cost airline, was the best performer with a punctuality rate of around 93%.

Last year, Portugal was the third European country with the most problems with flight punctuality, according to an analysis carried out by AirHelp, an organization that specializes in defending the rights of air passengers.

“In 2023, more than 80,000 flights suffered some kind of disruption – cancellation or delay – affecting more than 11 million passengers, or 36% of the more than 32 million who traveled from Portugal,” says the organization, adding that, taking these figures into account, more than 770,000 passengers became eligible for compensation, in accordance with European regulations.

Malta tops the list of countries with the most passengers affected by delays and cancellations: more than three million passengers passed through this European country and only 60% were able to enjoy their flight without incident. Turkey was in second place, with 61% of the more than two million passengers who flew experiencing some kind of disruption to their flight.

Portugal occupies the remaining place on the podium, a position maintained at a time when the main airport in Lisbon is operating at almost maximum capacity. Recently, the government approved a resolution obliging ANA to present by April the projects for fulfilling the specific development obligations at Lisbon airport, whose works must be completed by 2027.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the countries with the best potential are Lithuania, Norway and Albania. 80% of the 2 million passengers who took a flight from Lithuania arrived at their destination on time. Of the 28 million passengers who flew from Norwegian airports, 79.4% left on time, while 78.8% of the 2.5 million passengers who started their journey in Albania did the same.

Overall in Europe, more than 230 million passengers had problems with their flight schedules and 15 million had their flights canceled. “As a result of these disruptions, 17 million passengers who flew from European airports in 2023 are entitled to financial compensation under EC261, which regulates flights departing from the EU,” details AirHelp.

Eurowings, Lufthansa’s low-cost airline, was the best performer with a punctuality rate of around 93%.

“Unfortunately, the negative trend we predicted for 2023 was confirmed. As in other sectors linked to tourism, the shortage of qualified professionals was still a problem that hampered flight operations. Added to this were the staff strikes, which caused additional delays,” explains Pedro Miguel Madaleno, an AirHelp lawyer specializing in air passenger law.

As usual, given that the summer months continue to see the most air traffic, they also have the highest rate of flight interruptions. During the month of July 2023, 85 million passengers passed through a European airport and of these 38.20% suffered some kind of interruption to their journey.

The analysis also concludes that Spain is the European country with the most air traffic: 120 million passengers flew from Spanish airports and 75% of them flew on time. “In second place we find Germany with over 650,000 flights, 95 million passengers and 67% punctuality; France in third place with over 600,000 flights, 90 million passengers and 65% punctuality.”

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