After beating Ethiopian Airlines, which had held the top spot for years, Kenya Airways (KQ) has become the most punctual African flag carrier, having made timely arrivals for more than 70% of its flights in 2023.
According to an analysis of aviation analytics firm Cirium’s on-time performance (OTP), KQ made 41,905 flights in 2023; of those, more than 30,000 had timely arrivals, giving the carrier a performance rate of 71.86 percent.
With 92.36 percent of its flights completed on time, privately held low-cost carrier Safair, based in South Africa, was the most punctual airline in Africa, and KQ became the second most punctual airline overall.
Across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, KQ was ranked the tenth most punctual airline, in a list topped by Oman’s flag carrier Oman Air, which made timely arrivals in 92.53 percent of all its flights.
This is the first time KQ has performed better than its arch-rival on the continent, Ethiopian Airlines (ET), which has held the position of the most punctual flag carrier in Africa for the past five years.
In 2022, ET was ranked sixth in the MEA region, and the first in Africa, having arrived on time in 77.3 percent of its flights. KQ did not feature among the best 10.
In 2021, ET was ranked fourth in the region and second in Africa, after Safair, with KQ still missing in the top 10. KQ last featured among the 10 most punctual airlines in 2019, when it came tenth.
Experts argue that on-time performance has a significant impact on revenues and customer sentiment and satisfaction.
“Passenger satisfaction can fluctuate according to the level of OTP attained by a particular Airline and as a powerful tool in brand marketing campaigns when consistently high,” said Anthony Brooks, an aircraft appraiser.