It takes hard work and focused attention for an airline to achieve exceptional on-time performance. All divisions–from ground services to cabin crew–must make major contributions to improving punctuality.
Eight years ago, we started the Annual On-Time Performance Service Awards to shed a positive light on airlines as well as give the best of best the acknowledgment they deserve. Since then, the awards have become one of our greatest privileges as a data company.
The OPS Awards are an important opportunity to recognize the airlines that have fulfilled their commitment to operational excellence in spite of the many challenges working against them. Additionally, we’re able to provide an example of success to others in the industry. One such success story is Iberia and Iberia Express, our 2016 winners of the Most On-time Major International Airline and Most On-time Low-cost Airline awards respectively.
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. Also, this was the third consecutive year Iberia Express has been the most on-time low-cost carrier in the world. Earlier this year, Iberia was named Most On-time Major International Airline with an on-time performance of 87.79% and Iberia Express claimed the title of Most On-time Low-cost Airline with an on-time performance of 89.64%.
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. Recently, we sat down with the President of Iberia, Luis Gallego, and the CEO of Iberia Express, Fernando Candela, to discuss what on-time performance means to their airlines and how they work together to improve their operations.
*This interview has been edited for clarity. You can watch the full video above.*
What does winning an OPS Award mean to your airline?
Luis: To Iberia, winning the OPS Award means recognizing all our efforts to give our customers the best service.
How is on-time performance important to your airline?
Fernando: It is very important. Punctuality is part of our cultural DNA and, as Luis said, it is a recognition of our efforts to provide our customers with the best service.
How has being an OPS winner made an impact on your business?
Luis: Punctuality is very much related to NPS, the Net Promoter Score of the company. We have improved the NPS of Iberia over the past few years, and punctuality has been fundamental to that development. NPS, at the end of the day, translates into customer loyalty.
How have you managed to achieve such consistently high levels of performance?
Fernando: We think the winning formula is a combination of the human factor, an excellent team, and a very careful process by the Operation and Commercial areas to design the flight schedule.
With this formula and this team, we have been the world’s most punctual low-cost carrier for the last three years. We are very proud of that.
How do you maintain your on-time performance while having codeshare and network partners?
Luis: We maintain a very good punctuality performance with our partners because we select them very carefully [laugh]. We are very proud that Iberia Express has led the punctuality ranking for the past three years. We have another partner, our franchise Air Nostrum that is also doing very well.
Both Iberia and Iberia Express have shown high levels of on-time performance. Is this by design?
Luis: It is more by commitment. The commitment of the company to our customers. We know that punctuality is crucial for them. They want to arrive on time at their meetings, and we want to make it happen. In a world where we are competing very hard in the area of fares, punctuality can make all the difference.
Fernando: We know that we have to do the right thing, at the right moment, and at the first attempt to be efficient, not only for our customers’ sake but also because of costs, avoiding disruptions, extra cost in luggage, etc.
Do you think recognizing the work of your employees has improved your performance?
Luis: Employees are the key to good punctuality. At Iberia, we are developing new processes and changing the company, but ultimately the punctuality of a flight depends on the people that are handling the flight. We rely on the pilots, cabin crew, maintenance, airport people, and even head office staff since all play a key part in every single flight that we dispatch on time.
Fernando: I think this punctuality performance is a tremendous recognition and motivator for the team. And I agree with Luis that all the team–cabin crew, pilots, and our suppliers in Maintenance and Airport Services– are vital to this achievement.
*End of interview*
How airlines can improve their OTP
In today’s data-rich world, reliable analytics are the foundation of efficient and profitable airline operations—from route planning, through executing flight operations, to historical performance analysis. Airlines can no longer afford to hold off on making the investment in data. They need to know what their code-share and alliance partners are doing, as well as their competitors, and they need both real-time information as well as rich historical data to support daily operational decisions and planning.
Getting OTP data from a third party
When an airline makes a statement about their operations, they’re often met with skepticism. With all due respect to airlines, many people are distrusting by nature and often doubt that carriers will report accurate information. It can prevent a lot of headaches to use a company like FlightStats to report on-time performance metrics.
Both airlines and their customers can trust that we will report an accurate, reliable ranking of flight status information. This is especially useful to airlines that want to make on-time performance commitments to their corporate customers or tout their impressive on-time performance ranking in marketing materials. Using a third party source like FlightStats provides instant credibility.
Accomplishing more with OTP
Our free monthly on-time performance reports and annual OPS Awards are just the beginning of what you can access. We offer an OTP Analysis Workbook that provides a comprehensive and granular analysis of the major performance metrics. These workbooks include visualizations and reports focusing on airline and alliance benchmarking, departure and arrival statistics, trend analysis, carrier performance comparison, and daily/hourly analysis. Reviewing these metrics will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your airline and your competitors. With our data and analytics, you can continue to improve your operations and become a more data-driven. Maybe you’ll even win one of our OPS Awards next year.