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UK airports ‘underperforming’

Underbelly of an airplane

New data insight reveals that the UK’s airports and airlines are among the world’s most poorly performing, based on on-time statistics and quality of service.

This is according to the latest ratings from flight compensation firm Airhelp, which is based on a number of factors, including Twitter sentiment and claim processing.

Four of the UK’s major airports are among the poorest 20 in the world, with Stansted the worst performing in the country and second from the bottom of the global list. The rating was largely driven by poor Twitter sentiment at just 1.10 out of ten.

However, if the rating was only measured by Twitter sentiment, Gatwick would be ranked last at 0.6, although it ranked marginally higher than Stansted overall at number 123 out of 141 included in the data.

Between Stansted and Gatwick comes Edinburgh at number 134 and Manchester at 136, both of which received poor feedback on Twitter.

While Heathrow, which has moved a step closer to building a third runway, only came in at number 81 globally, it proved to be the UK’s best-performing airport, with an on-time score of 8.24 out of ten and eight out of ten for quality of service.

Internationally, Hamad International airport in Doha was ranked the highest.

Henrik Zillmer, CEO and co-founder of Airhelp, commented: “For some time now, UK airports have seemingly been in the news for all the wrong reasons and that has been realised in this data. The UK is enviably positioned when it comes to physical movement of people globally, but this report need to serve as a wake-up call when it comes to actual performance.”

The report also looked at airline rankings, with Easyjet coming in at number 69 out of 72 – based largely on its poor claims handling score of 1.13 out of ten. Ryanair ranked 67th and Jet2 61st.

Virgin Atlantic was ranked the highest for UK-based carriers and number ten globally, while British Airways came in at number 21. Qatar Airways was ranked the best-performing airline across the world.

Zillmer continued: “The 2018 Airhelp Score shows that as competition stiffens between airlines, those that put passengers first will come out the winners in the long run. For too long airlines have focused on cutting corners and costs without regard for the people they serve.”

View the 2018 Airhelp Score for airlines here and for airports here.


Personally , I am more impressed by the quality of the operational offering , where UK airports rank pretty highly for safety of the airside operations away from the ramp area.
The baggage handling issues and ground service provider issues come down to the airlines wanting Mercedes type performance at less than Ford prices. That means fewer personnel, frequently minimal investment in ground equipment and as a consequence, no fat whatsoever for covering even normal day to day variations, such as passengers with reduced mobility etc taking longer to board.
If the public wants only to pay Poundland prices, then they are just not going to get even Waitrose levels of service, let alone Harrods.
The whole issue is not helped by journalists who rave about tickets costing less than £10 or £20 , when just the smallest research would reveal that UK APD alone swallows that up . Some realism and questioning of the sustainability of prices for seats, when the actual cost is fairly easily worked out to within a few pounds per seat per hour by just taking the fuel burn and multiplying by 4 times the cost of Jet A1, which per metric ton is 10 times the price per barrel in USD.

Martin George Alder's picture
Martin George Alder (not verified)

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