Multi Year OPS Winners Blog Header Iberia

Iberia rises to become best Major European Airline

Each year, the airline industry becomes increasingly competitive not only in terms of ticket price but also in quality of service and on-time performance. Yet, delivering reliable, high-quality service to travelers is a major challenge because there are numerous factors that affect on-time performance, many of which are not within an airline’s control.

At FlightStats, we appreciate the magnitude of an airline’s collective efforts to get their passengers from point A to point B in a timely manner, which is why we started the Annual On-Time Performance Service (OPS) Awards eight years ago. Since then, we have been able to observe through our own data what airlines have achieved in terms of improving their operations.

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. This year, we thought it was important to not only recognize those top performing airlines but it was also important to reveal some of the data that helped them claim their title.

For the next few weeks, we will release a five-year on-time performance review of each airline that has won one of our OPS Awards multiple years in a row. It’s a great accomplishment to have the best on-time performance, but an even greater accomplishment to consistently maintain the good operations that got you there.

This week, we are highlighting the performance of Iberia Airlines. For two years in a row, Iberia has claimed the top spot in our Major European Airlines category for the OPS Awards. And even in the years Iberia didn’t win, it was still listed in the top 10 in 2014 and 2013.

Check out our infographic to see how Iberia has progressed to become the most on-time airline in Europe:

Iberia on-time performance

Iberia made significant strides in on-time performance

Iberia’s average on-time arrival within Europe for the past five years was 84.5%, which is a number that indicates a strong strategy for airline operations. More importantly, Iberia has consistently improved its performance year over year, achieving an 88.18% on-time arrival in 2016. From 2012 to 2016, Iberia grew their on-time arrival by 13.51%.

Iberia’s on-time arrival over the past five years:

  • 2012: 74.67%
  • 2013: 82.12%
  • 2014: 88.46%
  • 2015: 88.97%
  • 2016: 88.18%

Flying more, but getting better

In 2012, we tracked 227,322 flights for Iberia and in 2013 this number dropped down to 179,163 flights. Reducing the number of operated flights could have created an improvement in Iberia’s on-time performance since operating fewer flights would put less pressure on the airline crew. However, what is truly impressive is that Iberia has slowly added more flights since 2013 and still improved its on-time performance. In 2016, we tracked 193,502 Iberia flights, which means they were able to maintain at least an 88% on-time arrival while operating 14,000 more flights than they were four years ago.

Additionally, it seems as though Iberia has been completing more scheduled flights than in previous years. In the past five years, their completion factor–or the percentage of scheduled flights completed whether on-time or not–has gone up 1.14%. This means Iberia canceled fewer flights and reduced cancellations from numbers in the thousands to only a few hundred cancellations throughout the year.

A look at their most on-time routes

To calculate the most on-time Iberia routes, we pulled the on-time performance data for each individual route over a five-year period. Since airlines typically add and discontinue routes over time, we only included routes that have been in existence for the entire five-year period in our overall analysis.

Based on our data, it seems like if you’re flying in Spain and you need to get somewhere on time, you can trust Iberia to get you there. In the past five years, Iberia’s flights from Madrid, Spain (MAD) to Bilbao, Spain (BIO) were the most on-time of all their routes with an average on-time arrival of 94%, followed by:

  • Málaga, Spain (AGP) to Melilla, Spain (MLN): 93.17%
  • Madrid, Spain (MAD) to Seville, Spain (SVQ): 92.69%
  • Seville, Spain (SVQ) to Madrid, Spain (MAD): 92.24%
  • Madrid, Spain (MAD) to Palma, Majorca, Spain (PMI): 91.62%

Iberia has clearly been able to replicate its process for achieving high on-time performance across each of their routes and has been able to maintain consistent improvement throughout the years. In 2012, Iberia’s top routes had an on-time arrival that ranged from 88.79% to 94.76%, yet in subsequent years Iberia’s top routes never performed below a 95% on-time arrival.

iberia most on time routes

Each day is a good day to fly with Iberia

To calculate Iberia’s most on-time day of the week, we averaged the on-time performance for each day across the five-year period. So from 2012 to 2016, Iberia flights operated on Tuesday had an average 86.1% on-time arrival.

After reviewing our on-time performance data for each day of the week, we noticed that Iberia has consistently improved overall on-time performance throughout the week.  In 2012, each day of the week had an on-time arrival ranging from 71.28% to 75.89%; however, each day of the week in 2016 had an on-time arrival of 87% or above. Since 2014, not a single day of the week has achieved less than an 85% average on-time arrival.

Why you should get OTP data from a third party

When an airline makes a statement about their own operations, they’re often met with skepticism. With all due respect to airlines, many people are distrusting by nature and often doubt that airlines 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 key 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, you can continue to improve your operations and maybe even win our OPS Awards next year. Stay tuned for more five-year on-time performance reviews in the coming weeks.