KLM named amongst world’s best airlines
KLM has been named amongst the world’s best international airlines with the best on-time performance record by the aviation insights company, FlightStats.
According to Jim Hetzel, vice president of aviation and distribution at FlightStats, compiling the list is no small feat. The only comparable resource is the monthly report (PDF) that the U.S. Department of Transportation puts out on major domestic carriers, relying uniquely on self-reported data from the biggest carriers in the United States; it doesn’t factor in any of those airlines’ international flights.
“We stitch data together from 500 different sources,” said Hetzel, likening the process to creating a giant quilt.
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 pieces come in in different formats, all with different elements of value, and a lot of times the sources don’t agree,” said Hetzel as to why his business is so unrivaled.
“We’ve built the technology and logic to sort that out and validate information across multiple sources. It’s a pretty interesting process,” he said.
As for this year’s results? Hetzel says they’re the best numbers yet. “I’m seeing a big improvement in overall performance across the board as the industry becomes more and more competitive,” he said, noting that on-time performance has become a major selling point for airlines. “It’s a huge win for travelers.” (Air India disagrees with the above assessment, spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar said in a statement.)
In an especially impressive coup, Delta still ranked in the top 10 carriers after suffering a days-long system outage in the summer that made headlines around the world. Other results go against the grain of local reputations for punctuality. Latin American carrier Copa would have taken the top spot on this list if its route network were larger; it didn’t qualify it as a truly international carrier because it doesn’t serve three or more regions with a substantial route network. And Swiss fell in the middle of the pack, notwithstanding Switzerland's identification with precision clockwork.
The Best 10 International Airlines of 2016
10. Qantas – 15.7 percent
9. TAM Linhas Aéreas – 14.93 percent
8. Delta Air Lines – 14.83 percent
7. Singapore Airlines – 14.55 percent
6. ANA – 14.46 percent
5. Austrian – 14.26 percent
4. Qatar Airways – 13.66 percent
3. JAL – 12.2 percent
2. Iberia – 11.82 percent
1. KLM – 11.47 percent
The Worst 10 International Airlines of 2016
10. Hainan Airlines – 30.3 percent
9. Korean Air – 31.74 percent
8. Air China – 32.73 percent
7. Hong Kong Airlines – 33.42 percent
6. China Eastern Airlines – 35.8 percent
5. Asiana Airlines – 37.46 percent
4. Philippine Airlines – 38.33 percent
3. Air India – 38.71 percent
2. Icelandair – 41.05 percent
1. El Al – 56 percent