europe best airlines

Discover Europe’s Best and Worst Airlines and Airports for Delays and Cancellations in 2023


As the world reopened its doors to travel in 2023, eager adventurers took to the skies in droves.
We analyze in this article a recent study by BestBrooker starting with numbers for the year 2023 and provided by OAG, the world’s leading agency in providing data and analysis concerning airports and airlines.

However, the excitement of exploring new destinations was often tempered by the frustration of flight delays and cancellations. In this article, we dive deep into the data to uncover Europe’s best and worst performers in the aviation industry. Discover which airlines and airports excelled in punctuality and which ones left passengers waiting on the tarmac. Whether you’re a frequent flyer or planning your next getaway, join us as we reveal the winners and losers of Europe’s skies in 2023. Get ready to make informed decisions and maximize your chances of a smooth, stress-free journey.

The aviation industry’s turbulent journey in 2023: A tale of delays and cancellations

The year 2023 was a rollercoaster ride for the aviation industry in Europe. As the world emerged from the shadows of the pandemic, people eagerly embraced the opportunity to travel once again. However, the sudden surge in demand caught many airlines and airports off guard, leading to a series of challenges that tested the industry’s resilience.

Despite a 10% increase in flights compared to 2022, reaching nearly 92% of pre-Covid levels, the aviation sector faced numerous obstacles, including:

  • Rising fuel prices
  • Geopolitical conflicts
  • Labor strikes

These factors contributed to a staggering average delay of 15 minutes per flight across Europe in the first half of 2023, surpassing the pre-pandemic average of 13.3 minutes. As a result, passengers found themselves grappling with the frustration of extended wait times and last-minute cancellations, leaving many wondering which airlines and airports they could trust for a smooth travel experience.

Europe’s worst offenders: Airlines that left passengers stranded

In the midst of the aviation industry’s struggles, some airlines fared far worse than others. Leading the pack of Europe’s worst offenders was Italy’s Air Dolomiti S.p.A., with a staggering 43.56% of its flights either delayed or cancelled. This Lufthansa subsidiary, which primarily operates between Italian destinations and Munich or Frankfurt, left countless passengers stranded and frustrated.

Other notable worst airlines europe included:

  • EasyJet – This low-cost carrier ranked as the 6th worst in Europe, proving that budget travel often comes at the cost of punctuality and reliability.
  • Wizz Air UK – Another low-cost airline, Wizz Air UK, claimed the 7th spot on the list of worst performers, leaving many passengers questioning the value of their discounted tickets.
  • British Airways – Surprisingly, this major European airline found itself among the worst offenders, with only 60.67% of its flights arriving on time and a cancellation rate of 3.14%.
  • Lufthansa – The German flag carrier also struggled, with nearly 30% of its flights delayed and a 3.12% cancellation rate, securing its position as the 10th worst airline in Europe for 2023.

As these airlines grappled with operational challenges and labor disputes, passengers were left to bear the brunt of the consequences, often finding themselves stranded in airports or scrambling to make alternative travel arrangements.

Soaring above the rest: Europe’s most punctual airlines in 2023

Amidst the chaos and disappointment, a few airlines managed to shine, offering passengers a glimmer of hope and a taste of reliability. Leading the pack was Germany’s Eurowings, another Lufthansa subsidiary, which impressively maintained a 92.95% on-time arrival rate across its 156,350 flights in 2023. The airline’s commitment to punctuality, efficiency, and passenger satisfaction was evident in its performance.

Other top-performing airlines included:

  • TUI fly Belgium – With 87.50% on-time arrivals and a low cancellation rate of 0.98%, TUI fly Belgium secured the second spot on the list of Europe’s best airlines.
  • Iberia – The Spanish flag carrier claimed third place, with 84.81% of its flights arriving on time and an impressive cancellation rate of just 0.02%.

These airlines demonstrated that, even in the face of adversity, it is possible to maintain high standards of service and punctuality. Their success can be attributed to factors such as:

  • Effective planning and resource management
  • Investment in innovative technologies
  • Strong communication and collaboration with airport authorities
  • A focus on customer satisfaction and experience

As the aviation industry continues to navigate the challenges of the post-pandemic world, these airlines serve as a beacon of hope and a model for others to follow, proving that reliable, punctual air travel is still possible, even in the most trying of times.

Airports to avoid: Europe’s hubs with the most delays flights europe

While airlines play a significant role in the punctuality of flights, airports also have a crucial impact on the overall travel experience. In 2023, several European airports struggled to keep up with the surge in passenger traffic, leading to extensive delays and cancellations.

Topping the list of airports to avoid was Frankfurt International Airport, with a dismal 39.27% on-time departure rate. This German hub was plagued by a series of issues, including:

Other airports that experienced significant delays flights europe included:

  • Munich International Airport – With only 48.09% of departures leaving on time, this German airport ranked as the 7th worst in Europe.
  • Airports in France and Belgium – These countries had two entries each in the list of the 15 worst airports in Europe, grappling with labor strikes, staff shortages, and overloading of flights.
  • Airports in the United Kingdom – Four UK airports found themselves among the worst performers, as they dealt with the aftermath of the pandemic, including reduced workforce and increased travel demand.

As passengers navigated these airports, they faced long queues, crowded terminals, and uncertain departure times, adding stress and frustration to their travel experiences. The challenges faced by these airports highlight the need for improved infrastructure, better coordination with airlines, and more effective contingency planning to minimize disruptions and ensure a smoother journey for passengers.

Taking off on time: The airports that kept Europe’s best airlines flying high

Despite the challenges faced by many airports across Europe, some managed to rise above the rest, ensuring that passengers could enjoy a seamless travel experience. These airports demonstrated exceptional performance, maintaining high on-time departure rates and minimizing disruptions.

Leading the pack was Malta International Airport, with an impressive 90.59% on-time departure rate in 2023. This Mediterranean hub not only surpassed its pre-pandemic air traffic stats but also saw a 6.7% growth in passenger numbers compared to 2019.

Other airports that excelled in punctuality included:

  • Warsaw Chopin Airport, Poland – With 86.57% of departures leaving on time, this airport served nearly 18.5 million passengers in 2023, just 2% shy of its 2019 record.
  • Stuttgart Airport, Germany – Despite facing staff strikes, Stuttgart Airport secured the third spot, with 85.54% of departures being on time, and is now focusing on expanding its routes and implementing eco-friendly initiatives.
  • Dublin Airport, Ireland – The Irish capital’s airport maintained a strong on-time performance, ensuring that passengers could rely on punctual departures.
  • Tenerife Norte-Ciudad de La Laguna Airport, Spain – This Canary Islands airport proved that it could handle the influx of tourists while maintaining a high level of punctuality.
  • Airports in Norway – Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim airports showcased the efficiency and reliability of Norway’s aviation infrastructure.

These airports’ success can be attributed to factors such as effective management, robust infrastructure, and close collaboration with airlines. By prioritizing punctuality and passenger satisfaction, these airports have set a benchmark for the rest of Europe’s aviation industry to follow, demonstrating that even in the face of adversity, it is possible to maintain a high standard of service and efficiency.


The aviation industry in Europe faced numerous challenges in 2023, with delays and cancellations becoming all too common. While some airlines and airports struggled to maintain punctuality, others managed to rise above the chaos and deliver exceptional service. By understanding the best and worst performers in the industry, travelers can make informed decisions when planning their next trip.

Whether you’re a frequent flyer or an occasional traveler, it pays to do your research and choose airlines and airports with a proven track record of reliability. By selecting carriers like Eurowings, TUI fly Belgium, and Iberia, and opting for airports such as Malta International, Warsaw Chopin, and Stuttgart, you can minimize the risk of disruptions and enjoy a more pleasant travel experience.

At, we’re committed to helping you find the best deals on flights while also providing valuable insights into the performance of airlines and airports. Visit our website today to start planning your next adventure and discover how we can help you soar to new heights!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What factors contributed to flight delays and cancellations in Europe during 2023?

Several factors led to flight disruptions in Europe in 2023, including increased fuel prices, geopolitical conflicts, labor strikes, and the sudden surge in travel demand post-pandemic. These issues put a strain on airlines and airports, resulting in delays and cancellations.

How can I minimize the risk of experiencing delays or cancellations when traveling in Europe?

To reduce the likelihood of facing disruptions during your travels, consider booking flights with airlines that have a strong track record of punctuality, such as Eurowings, TUI fly Belgium, and Iberia. Additionally, choose airports with high on-time departure rates, like Malta International, Warsaw Chopin, and Stuttgart Airport.

What should I do if my flight is delayed or cancelled?

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, contact your airline immediately to discuss your options. You may be entitled to compensation, depending on the circumstances and the length of the delay. Keep all your travel documents and receipts handy, as you may need them when making a claim.

How can help me with my travel plans? is a flight comparison website that helps you find the best deals on flights while also providing valuable information on airline and airport performance. By using our platform, you can make informed decisions when booking your flights, taking into account factors such as punctuality, customer satisfaction, and overall reliability. Visit today to start planning your next trip with confidence.

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