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Is Ryanair Lying About Their On-Time Performance?

With an on-time performance (OTP) of 86% in 2018, Ryanair was the most punctual global airline, securing the 7th position of our airline rating.

However, as we mentioned previously, Ryanair's OTP is subject to question.

This 86% figure was indeed provided by Ryanair's own website, which now claims that 88% of their flights arrived on-time in the past 12 months.  

(Source)

A number that contradicts those provided by an objective and neutral third-party.

Ryanair's On-Time Performance May Not Be What it Seems

At ClaimCompass, we studied the on-time performance of 74 airlines over the first half of 2019, based on data provided by Flightstats. This includes Ryanair's.

Just a quick reminder regarding "on-time performance", or "OTP": it's the portion of an airline's flights that arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled time of arrival. An OTP of 88% would therefore mean that 88% of the airline's flights were on-time, while 12% were delayed by at least 15 minutes.

It turns out that while Ryanair's on-time performance is good, it's nowhere near the 88% it claims.

For reference, in 2018, the industry average was 75.20%.

During the first quarter of 2019 (January-March), 79.86% of Ryanair's flights were on time. That's over 20% of delayed flights - quite a lot, for an airline which claims to be the most punctual in the world.

The portion of on-time flights increased to 83.81% during the second quarter (April-June), leading to an average of 81.83% for the first half of 2019.

Once again, quite far from the claimed 88% of on-time flights.

Only the 19th Best On-Time Performance

Of the on-time performance of the 74 airlines that we studied, Ryanair's ranks only 19th.

The top of the ranking is occupied by Air Italy (OTP = 90.71%), Royal Brunei Airlines (OTP = 87.74%), ANA All Nippon Airways (OTP = 87.34%), Alitalia (OTP = 87.02%), and LATAM (OTP = 86.99%).

In Europe, the Irish low-cost airline is left behind by Air Italy, Alitalia, Iberia (OTP = 85.50%), Air Europe (OTP = 83.56%), Air France (OTP = 81.98%), and Germanwings (OTP = 81.92%).

Not quite what you'd expect of the most punctual airline in the world, is it?

A Gap in the Data? An Innocent Mistake?

Ryanair's website doesn't share any data regarding the punctuality of their flights since April 2018.

(Source)

It does, however, claims an OTP of 88% for the financial year 2017, on that same page.

But nothing since April 2018.

So one of three things:

  • Either Ryanair simply doesn't share the data that proves that they are indeed the most punctual airline on their website anymore, and have omitted to update the info on their website (involuntarily, of course); but in this case, their internal data is in conflict with that of third-party, independent providers.
  • Or, Ryanair is misleading their passengers by claiming to still be "the most punctual airline in the world", based on outdated data
  • Or, Ryanair's flight data on Flightstats is the only unreliable one

Anyone who has been on a Ryanair flight recently can indeed confirm that their landing jingle proudly presents the Irish airline as such. Their website claims the same.

Even though the data proved this claim wrong.

Ryanair's (Claimed) Great Flight Performance: True or False?

It's hard to say.

But we tend to trust the data provided by an independent third-party more than that of the airline itself. Especially when the info on their website hasn't been updated in over a year.

After all, it wouldn't be the first time that the low-cost airline crowns itself on false facts:

Ryanair also claims to be "Europe's greenest and cleanest airline".

Even though a report from the EU's Transport & Environment group showed that the Irish air carrier was the only airline to be included in a list of Europe's top polluters.

Have you had a delayed or cancelled flight with Ryanair? Claim your compensation now by filling out your flight details here.

It takes less than 3 minutes!

Thomas Busson

Thomas Busson

Thomas is the SEO and Content Strategist at ClaimCompass. Frequent traveller, he loves sharing tips and news about the industry in a simple way.

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Is Ryanair Lying About Their On-Time Performance?
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