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Air Canada, WestJet, among most delayed North American airlines in 2022: Report


A new report from Cirium Aviation Analytics found that Canada's two largest airlines faced plenty of delays in 2022.

The report looked at the 10 largest airlines in Canada and the United States, and it found that Air Canada ranked dead last, with about 55.6 per cent of its roughly 143,000 flights as of mid-December arriving on time.

For WestJet, about 60.7 per cent of its roughly 89,000 flights were on-time, which ranks ninth on the list.

Cirium says top-ranked Delta Air Lines had on-time arrivals for about 84 per cent of its 960,000 flights.

The data used in the report does not include the past week or so when hundreds of flights across the country were cancelled, primarily because of extreme winter weather.

"When looking at on-time performance, it is important to recognize the multitude of factors that contributed to the punctuality of Canadians airlines throughout 2022 as a result of the Canadian operating environment, such as challenging winter climates and the entire aviation ecosystem as our industry worked towards recovery," said a WestJet spokesperson in a statement to CTV News.

"While we worked closely with our airport partners, third-party providers and the federal government to mitigate challenges, compounding delays and disruptions across our industry were prevalent as a result of ongoing challenges, including third-party staffing shortages, airport construction, CATSA and CBSA processing and staffing which significantly impacted arrival and departure times."

Air Canada highlighted similar issues facing Canada's air travel industry.

Regardless of the reason, the reality is that delays have become increasingly more common throughout 2022 for Canada's air travel industry.

As many travellers seek compensation for cancelled flights, lengthy delays, or lost luggage, one air passenger rights advocate says it's essential for people to be persistent.

"The challenge for passengers is that the airlines love to claim that everything is due to weather, or due to maintenance issues, or something that they always say 'oh it's not me, it's them. It's some third-party,' to make it look like they owe nothing to passengers," said Dr. Gabor Lukacs, founder and president of Air Passenger Rights.

Lukacs added that when it comes to compensation, airlines aren't always the most helpful or transparent with customers, and government officials need to improve the legal framework meant to hold the airlines accountable.

"Airlines really have a vested financial interest in not providing accurate information to passengers,"

"The ultimate responsibility for what we are seeing is not on the airlines. The airlines are just taking advantage of the current regulatory environment, and they are doing their best to optimize profit. If Canadians firmly believe that airlines have to act differently, the laws and the enforcement model have to change so that it will not be profitable to disobey the law."

The full report from Cirium Aviation Analytics will be released on Tuesday, giving people an idea of where Canada's two major airlines rank globally regarding flight delays.

With files from The Canadian Press Top Stories

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