Almost every second flight from Zurich Airport has been delayed since the beginning of June, with travellers facing more delays this summer.
Between June 1 and July 10 an average of 46% of aircraft took off from Zurich with a delay of more than 15 minutes, according to an analysis by the news agency AWP. On average, passengers had to wait around 40 minutes.
Most delays were of an operational, technical or weather-related nature, said an airport spokeswoman.
Among the airlines that operated more than 50 departures during this period, passengers of the Polish airline LOT had their patience tested the most: almost 78% of flights were delayed. Air Canada, SunExpress, Scandinavian, Aer Lingus and Air Serbia also recorded delay rates of over 60%.
At SWISS, which operates the most commercial flights at Zurich Airport, the figure was around 48%.
The most punctual airlines included Iberia (17%), Air Europa (20%), Qatar Airways (25%), Croatia Airlines (29.9%) and Edelweiss (30.7%).
Increased delays during the peak season is normal – there are significantly more flights in summer than at the beginning of the year – but the fact that many airlines and service providers have reduced capacities due to the Covid-19 crisis is now taking its toll.
As recently as 2019 around 40% of departures were delayed at their peak in June, which is around six percentage points fewer than at present. Over the whole year, the delay rate was just under 29%.
In addition, flights are being cut. SWISS and many other European airlines have had to cancel hundreds of flights in the summer, mainly because of a lack of staff. Since the beginning of June, 632 out of a total of 25,030 arrivals and departures have been cancelled at Zurich Airport across all airlines.
The technical hitch at air traffic control system Skyguide resulted in almost 100 flights cancelled a day. On June 15, Swiss air traffic was paralysed for hours owing to a network error at air traffic control. The next breakdown followed about two weeks later: the failure of a globally used system for flight handling caused longer waiting times.
“Unfortunately, it’s pretty much impossible to make predictions about delays because we’re internationally dependent,” the spokeswoman said. However, it can be assumed that the delay rate will be relatively higher this summer.
The airport recommends that during the peak travel season travellers arrive up to three hours before departure.
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