On January 19, 2017, the FlightStats team was proud to present Iberia and Iberia Express with our 8th Annual On-time Performance Service Awards.
Iberia is celebrating its first year as the number one Major International Airline for on-time performance. Additionally, this is the third consecutive year Iberia Express has been the most on-time low-cost carrier in the world.
About the OPS Awards
Eight years ago, we started the Annual On-Time Performance Service Awards in order to recognize airlines for achieving exceptional on-time performance in spite of the many challenges working against them. Our experience in the aviation industry has taught us how difficult it is for airlines to get their passengers from point A to point B in a timely manner.
There are numerous factors that affect on-time performance, many of which are not within an airline’s control, and we appreciate the magnitude of their collective efforts. The OPS Awards program is designed to shed a positive light on airlines as well as give the best of best the acknowledgment they deserve. Additionally, we aim to provide an example of success to others in the industry.
To calculate airline on-time performance, our team stitches data together from over 500 different sources. Among those sources are flight-tracking and positional services, airport runway times, radar services, airline records, airport data, and such governing bodies as Eurocontrol and the Federal Aviation Administration. All of these data pieces come in different formats with different elements of value, and we use our sophisticated technology and logic to validate and corroborate the information.
For an airline to be considered for an award, certain requirements must be met. These requirements include the total annual scheduled passenger flights, the geographical nature of their route network and the degree to which FlightStats is able to acquire flight status data from our various sources, also known as coverage.
Iberia Consistently Improves On-time Performance
In the past four years, Iberia has consistently improved its global on-time performance. According to our data, Iberia was the fourth most punctual in the world in 2013, third in 2014, second in 2015 and the first in 2016.
For the Major International Airline (mainline) category, the coverage threshold was set at 85%, meaning we had actual gate arrival times on at least 85% of the scheduled flights. We analyzed the on-time arrival performance of the largest airlines in the world based on Available Seat Miles and each airline was required to have more than 1,000 scheduled flights to 3 or more geographical regions. With a global mainline on-time performance of 87.79%, Iberia was ranked number one among the 40 airlines that met the criteria and were included in the analysis.
CEO Luis Gallego and a group of Iberia employees accept our OPS Award for Major International Airline.
In addition, this was the third consecutive year Iberia Express has been the most on-time low-cost carrier in the world. A tracking threshold of 90% was used for this category and a total of 28 airlines were included in the analysis. Iberia Express won the category with an on-time performance of 89.64%.
“I’m seeing a big improvement in overall performance across the board as the industry becomes more and more competitive,” said Jim Hetzel, Director of Business Development at FlightStats. “On-time performance has become a major selling point for airlines, and it’s impressive that Iberia has been so successful at elevating their performance year over year.”
Two Airlines Staying In Sync
Winning the title of the most on-time airline in the international and low-cost carrier categories is a testament to how synchronized Iberia and Iberia Express have become in supporting their business objectives and complementing their networks.
Although Iberia Express operates as an independent airline, it is also a part of the Iberia network. For example, Iberia supports many long-haul, transatlantic, and transcontinental flights; however, Iberia Express services many of the smaller markets and brings travelers into the hub of Madrid. Once they’re in Madrid, travelers use Iberia flights for long-haul service.
Both airlines have to be in sync in order for their network system to work, which means they make significant investments in maintaining timely operations. Ultimately, their cooperation and devotion to running an on-time network enhances their quality of service to travelers and increases their efficiency.
Iberia Express has become an excellent feeder airline for Iberia, ensuring travelers connect to their long-haul Iberia flights on time.
Making On-time Performance an Internal Priority
One of the major reasons Iberia and Iberia Express have successfully maintained exceptional on-time performance is their decision to make it an internal priority. It was clear offering timely service had become a shared vision among the entire team when both airlines accepted their awards.
During his acceptance, Fernando Candela, CEO of Iberia Express, called winning the Low-cost Carrier OPS Award “an achievement of the professionals who form Iberia Express.” Luis Gallego, President of Iberia, welcomed the successes achieved by the entire airline and called his team “the real architects of this award.”
Additionally, there was never only one person accepting an award. Each CEO had employees join them on stage to experience the moment.
Iberia had a group of employees accept the OPS Award, including one of their first female captain.
“Iberia and Iberia Express share performance numbers with the team every day,” said Hetzel. “Each employee demonstrates a commitment to on-time performance and it was evident how important it was for them to be recognized and given credit for these awards.”
Celebrating 90 Years of Excellence
The awards ceremony itself came at the ideal time as Iberia celebrated its 90th anniversary during the International Tourism Trade Fair in Madrid. We were excited to not only recognize them for their excellent on-time performance but also celebrate the high level of service they’ve provided for decades. Jim Hetzel attended the event and presented Iberia and Iberia Express with their OPS Awards.
“This was a really positive event and I felt honored to be part of it,” said Hetzel. “90 years for any company to be in business is a tremendous accomplishment and it was special to witness that commemoration.”
The Iberia team set up a display of one of the earliest aircraft used when the airline first started. They even replicated the original wicker seats in the aircraft and allowed people to dress up in 1900’s attire to take photos in it.